Colombo, Feb 9 (NIA) – Exiled former Maldives President, Mohamed Nasheed, on Thursday announced that he would contest the 2018 Maldives Presidential election if he gets elected as the MDP’s presidential candidate.
Speaking to reporters in capital Colombo, Nasheed said his detention and arrest by a Maldivian court last year was politically motivated and illegal and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions had called for his civil and political rights to be restored.
Vowing to give a ‘good fight’, Nasheed said he was confident of seeing a change in the Maldives, as currently Maldives had been destabilized and corruption was rampant.
“I am here in Colombo to meet our party officials. We have decided to hold the MDP Presidential primaries perhaps later this year. I will contest those internal elections. I hope to win the MDP’s ticket as the party’s candidate of choice for the 2018 Maldives Presidential elections,” Nasheed said.
“In his fear to contest me, if President Yameen barrs me from contesting the elections, then ofcourse his presidency will lack the necessary legitimacy,” he added.
Nasheed further called upon the international community to engage ‘more’ to deal with the present situation in the Maldives and said he and his party were in discussions with all the countries in the Indian Ocean. “We believe they have a plan. And they see it as important that elections in the Maldives are free and fair and inclusive.”
He further went on to say that there were a ‘number of countries working behind the scene’ and he was hopeful that those efforts would bear fruit.
“We havent given up hope and we will continue to work with our international partners. They maybe able to press President Yameen to make him realize the need to have an all inclusive election.”
Nasheed who has been in Colombo for the past two weeks to hold indept discussions with his party, said that if he is not allowed to contest the elections next year, then the MDP would support another candidate from another party. He stressed that the MDP would not boycott the elections and neither would they field another candidate.
When questioned who they would support, Nasheed said this would be revealed just before the election next year in order to ensure the safety of the candidate.
However he remained confident that he would be able to contest in a free and fair manner.
“I 2008, I was allowed to contest only in the 11th hour. Up until the last moment the government had not informed me that I would be able to contest the elections. This story was the same in 2013. And I am sure it will be the same in the next election as well. I can contest. I am a Maldives national and I must be free to contest and I will contest,” he said.
While presently residing in UK after being given political asylum last year, Nasheed said his presence in the Maldives would be necessary if he is to contest the polls. “I cant win a Presidential election through an app,” he said.
Nasheed further blamed Yameen and his government for not adhering to any international ruling and for more recently, leaving the Commonwealth.
He alleged this was because the Commonwealth had wanted the Maldives government to reform.
Nasheed who is the leader of the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) is Maldives’ first democratically elected President. He was jailed in the Maldives in 2015, under current President Abdulla Yameen’s government, on terrorism charges after allegedly ordering the arrest of a judge during his tenure as the President.
He was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment.
In January 2016, Nasheed was allowed to go to Briatin for treatment on his back, after President Abdulla Yameen came under international pressure to let him leave.
Since then, Nasheed has called for sanctions against Yameen and his allies for detaining political prisoners and for alleged human rights abuses, allegations which the Maldives government has vehemently denied.