Resort tycoon and Jumhooree Party (JP) presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim has said that fellow candidate Abdulla Yameen – who is contesting in the presidential poll as the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate – will never be able to secure enough popular support to become the next president.
The Supreme Court’s decision to annul the first round of presidential elections came as a result of a petition filed by the JP, in which the party claimed the election had been flawed due to a number of discrepancies and irregularities in the voting process that amounted to a “systematic failure”.
Gasim’s new verbal attacks on Yameen came in a JP campaign rally held in Kanditheemu Island, Shaviyani Atoll, last night (October 16).
Speaking during the rally, the businessman-turned-politician told his supporters that Yameen had only won the PPM presidential primaries held earlier this year with the help of some 7,000 fraudulent votes he obtained by infiltrating opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) members into PPM ahead of the party’s internal election.
During the PPM primaries held earlier in March, Yameen edged out former PPM Interim Vice President Umar Naseer, taking 13,096 votes out of the total 20,546 votes cast in the party poll.
Challenging the elections result, citing electoral fraud, corruption and violence, Naseer subsequently filed a lawsuit at the Civil Court challenging the outcome of the poll. However, the Civil Court rejected the case and saw Naseer expelled from the PPM for “sowing discord amongst the party flanks”.
Yameen – who is the half-brother of Maldives’ former autocratic ruler Maumoon Abdul Gayoom – meanwhile dismissed all the allegations, while Naseer subsequently backed Gasim Ibrahim in the presidential poll.
Addressing yesterday’s rally, Gasim stated that the reason Yameen would not be able to garner the popular support of the people was that people had still not forgotten their mistreatment under Gayoom’s reign, in which Yameen had been a central figure.
Gasim also responded to the PPM’s allegations that he was “stuck” under the influence of advisers sympathetic to his political rivals, namely the MDP. He said that Yameen and the PPM making such remarks was due to the fact that he had refused to declare his support for Yameen in the event of a run-off duel between Yameen and MDP candidate Mohamed Nasheed.
He alleged that Yameen had been making such remarks to cover up his poor presidential campaign, during which he had failed to even visit the majority of the islands in the country.
“A mu’min cannot be bitten twice from one hole; hence I shall never support Nasheed”: Gasim
The resort tycoon also brushed off the ongoing public speculation that he would back Nasheed in a similar case of a run-off election.
The speculations began after Nasheed had a private meeting with Gasim Ibrahim in his own residence last month. Nasheed after the meeting told the press that they had met to discuss “discussed matters of national interest and maintaining stability and public order”.
“As I have said before, a Mu’min (Arabic terminology for pious Muslim) cannot be bitten twice from one hole. That is a narration of Prophet Muhammad. May Allah never show us a day where I would work to help [Nasheed] win the presidency,” Gasim told the rally.
Explaining the reason why he had backed Nasheed in 2008 presidential election – which Nasheed went onto win in the run-off election to become the fourth president of Maldives – was because he wanted to establish good governance and democratic principles in the country.
However, the Chairman of Villa Group said that it had been a “terrible” decision that ultimately caused more grief to the people.
The JP candidate also accused Nasheed of promoting Yameen over him in the presidential election because “Nasheed knows he would swiftly win the presidency should Yameen be contesting him in a possible run-off election”.
“If Abdulla Yameen goes to the second position, [Nasheed] knows he would easily win the second round of elections. If Gasim Ibrahim gets to the second or first position, he knows he must bow down saying bye-bye and good-bye to presidency,” Gasim told his supporters.