Male, February 4 (Maldives Independent/Avas): The embattled Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen on Saturday broke his silence over Thursday’s Supreme Court order to immediately release his top political opponents, including former President Mohamed Nasheed, saying he is ready to advance the Presidential election due in September, to test his and the opposition’s popularity.
But Yameen added that he cannot do that under the Presidential form of government which Maldives has. If Maldives had a parliamentary it would have been possible to have a snap election to settle a crisis.
Yameen was addressing a ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPPM) rally in the capital, making it his first public appearance since Thursday night’s decision of the Supreme Court was published.
The court had also reinstated the 12 MPs who were previously stripped of their seats for closing the floor. Their reinstatement now the opposition coalition a majority in parliament, which has the power to impeach the President.
This is the real blow to President Yameen.
Yameen was flanked by First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim. He was speaking to hundreds of people, many of whom were sporting the party’s signature color of shocking pink, and there was a heavy military presence surrounding him.
“I didn’t expect this Supreme Court ruling at all, but as they are the top court and there’s a ruling, the state and all relevant authorities have to do a lot of work to see how to implement it,” he told supporters.
“God willing, the work is going well. W’ve started dialogue with the Supreme Court. We’ve sat and started talking about difficulties or concerns the State has. Attorney General Mohammed Anil has already shared this.He’s the person working as the lead on this.”
“We’re working on making sure we can respect the Supreme Court order in a way that doesn’t cause any difficulties to people,” he said.
President Yameen who appeared to be in a cheerful mood, challenged the opposition when he said: “If they need to see who has support now, if it takes holding elections early I would do that.”
He scoffed at the opposition alliance’s chances of beating him at the ballot box, saying the Supreme Court ruling had effectively split the coalition.
“Until yesterday the MUO (Maldives United Opposition) were deciding who to field as a single candidate, but Nasheed just said as the Supreme Court released him he would now not consider rival leaders opinions over this,” said Yameen, referring to Nasheed’s declaration to run for office.
(the image at the top shows President Abdulla Yamean speaks to party people in Male on Sunday)