Local council elections will consolidate democracy, President Mohamed Nasheed said yesterday during a speech for Maldives National Day, marking the 451st anniversary of the Maldives gaining independence from Portuguese rule.
However, he said, democracy could not be consolidated without decentralising the country, which until now has been Male’ centric.
“This administration does not intend to centralize all the powers in the capital, and the country will not progress without relinquishing powers concentrated in Male’ for centuries,” Nasheed said.
Revolts occurring against governments in many countries in the Middle East was the result of suppressing people’s freedoms and liberties, he said.
Safeguarding the people’s freedom of expression, assembly and peaceful political activism was a prerequisite of sustainable national development, added the President.
Basic rights of the people and safeguarding these rights for future generations were central to the current political and socio-economic changes in the Maldives, the President said.
“The most important part of preservation of the new found freedoms and rights in the Maldives is redefining the national identity based on Islam, human rights, culture, and socio-economic progress of this country,” Nasheed said.
Nasheed also paid tribute to Mohamed Thakurufaanu, the National Day hero who restored the country’s independence after Portuguese rule.