Maldivian police say opposition planning disruption ahead of Presidential poll

Maldivian police say opposition planning disruption ahead of Presidential poll

Male, September 11 ( The Maldives police said on Monday that  it had received intelligence reports of several violent act to be carried out throughout the country in a bid to undermine the credibility of the upcoming Presidential election on September 23..

Police spokesperson Ahmed Shifan read out a statement which said the police had received reports of planned attacks in the capital Male and other islands to show the rest of the world that the crunch elections slated for later this month was not free and fair.

The plans include arson attacks, vandalism and even murder, Shifan said.

The violence would depend on the result of the election, which  means it would be unleashed if Yameen wins the poll.

“By law the police have the foremost responsibility to ensure peace and security in the country. So we urge the people planning to carry out attacks to stop it immediately. Because police will find the masterminds behind such plots and take strict action in accordance with the laws,” he added.

The police said that interested parties might want to indulge in widespread arson as they did on February 8, 2012 which destroyed a lot of property.

The police statement come in the wake of multiple stabbing attacks in recent weeks believed to be gang related.

A government office set on fire in one of the Atolls on February 8, 2012

Incumbent president Abdulla Yameen last month blamed the upcoming Presidential election for the recent surge in violence especially in the capital Male.

Speaking after inaugurating the new harbour in Raa Atoll Innamaadhoo island, Yameen attributed the recent uptick in violent assaults to the “elections season” urging the public to be wary.

He indirectly blamed the opposition for gang violence saying that violent crimes had surged during the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) government in 2008.

“So when they [opposition] talk about justice, peace and stability, they only need to look at themselves to see what they taught young people in their quest to come to power,” he alleged.

His comments come in the wake of multiple stabbing attacks believed to be gang related in recent weeks.

President Yameen again took a swipe at the opposition alliance presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih reiterating that the people do not need an “interim leader.”

Solih is supposed to step down after 18 months of  being President to conduct fresh elections. Prior to the elections the law would be changed to allow all who are now barred from contest like Nasheed to contest.

In the meanwhile,the government has warned foreigners in the Maldives not to indulge in kind of political work as they would invite deportation under the immigration law.

The crunch elections slated for September 23, is set to be a two horse race between incumbent president Abdulla Yameen, who is seeking re-election and opposition alliance candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih who has been backed by Yameen’s main political rivals including the now jailed former Presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed.

Unlike in previous elections, the Presidential race would be decided in the first round and is widely seen more as a ‘referendum’ with a straight choice between the opposition and the government more than an election.

Meanwhile, the Sun online and other publication of the Sun group have been temporarily closed for “rebranding” with due permission from the relevant authorities. This was announced in its website.

It is not clear if the closure, days before the Presidential poll on September 23, is due to political reasons.

(The  featured image at the top shows Ahmed Shifan, Maldivian police spokesman)