Colombo: Exiled Maldives opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed vowed Wednesday to keep up the pressure on the government after it deployed troops to remove his MPs from parliament, drawing a warning from Washington.
Nasheed admitted he had been unable to secure “outright victory” in his bid to seize control of parliament by entering into a pact with the president’s half-brother, former strongman president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
A vote of no confidence in the house speaker, intended to destabilise President Abdulla Yameen ahead of elections next year, ended in defeat when soldiers took away 13 opposition MPs and the rest walked out in protest.
The scenes, which were captured on camera and circulated on social media, prompted the US embassy to urge Male to “restore faith in democratic processes”.
But Nasheed, who has pledged to return to the honeymoon islands to contest the 2018 election, said Monday’s incident had exposed the government’s shaky majority and strengthened his resolve to try again.
“I am not disappointed,” Nasheed told AFP in Colombo from where he coordinated the abortive parliamentary push.
“I don’t think there was a failure, but we did not come out with an outright victory.”
Nasheed accused the government of using intimidation to prevent its MPs from defecting to the opposition side.
“The end game is to ensure free and fair elections,” Nasheed said.
“I want to be able to go back and contest elections. I will contest elections.”
Nasheed became the Maldives’ first democratically elected president in 2008, but was narrowly defeated by Yameen in a controversial 2013 election run-off.
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