President Abdulla Yameen condemned the opposition’s “anarchist and ruinous ideology” at an event with senior citizens Monday night.
While the “main source of guidance” for the Maldives at present are the principles of democracy, Yameen said, “nothing can come before the nation’s stability and peace and love of the country.”
“Democracy will not be instilled through any effort in the absence of national stability,” he said, adding that stability must be “foremost” and “sacred” above all else.
He went on to accuse the opposition of “encouraging crimes”, “advocating the destruction of institutions”, and “calling for attacks against the police and military”.
“These aren’t characteristics of democracy. Political leaders cannot openly criticise the courts and the judiciary,” he said.
“This is anarchist ideology, this is an ideology that ruins a place,” he said, and opposition leaders “have no right to unfairly talk about the Maldives’ flipside internationally”.
Yameen has been dogged by persistent international criticism over the jailing of political opponents and the curtailment of constitutional rights, which his four-year administration has dismissed as unfair meddling in domestic affairs, insisting that the courts are independent.
In his speech, Yameen also praised the service of the first three presidents of the Maldives, including his estranged half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who joined forces with the opposition earlier this year.
The elder Gayoom withdrew support for the government last year after losing an acrimonious leadership dispute with Yameen for control of the ruling party.
Speaking at a joint opposition rally last week, Gayoom accused the Yameen administration of detaining his son, MP Faris Maumoon, to derail his “reform” efforts with the opposition coalition.
The 80-year-old politician said he was “not really free” despite being the only opposition leader who is not in jail or exile.
“In truth, even if I am speaking in front of you, I am really in Maafushi jail,” he said.
MP Faris, who is on trial on charges of bribery and identity fraud, has been in prison for nearly three months.
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