Former President Nasheed has filed his candidacy papers with the Elections Commission to contest September’s Presidential election.
“As mandated by the Election Commission, President Nasheed sought and received clearance from the country’s judicial courts and other state institutions prior to submitting his candidature as the Maldivian Democratic Party’s Presidential candidate,” said the MDP in a statement.
A large group of MDP supporters and party leaders accompanied the former President to the commission to submit the papers.
Nasheed and the MDP maintain the former president was compelled to resign during a police and military mutiny on February 7, 2012. His successor and former vice-president, Dr Mohamed Waheed, maintain the succession was legitimate.
“Today we submitted the election forms and begin the task of restoring democracy to our country. It has been a slippery slope but we have come a long way. Despite all the barriers and hurdles that were put in our way, we never gave up. Undoubtedly because of the resilience of the people of the Maldives, we are confident of winning this election in the first round with a handsome majority,” Nasheed declared.
Following February 7’s controversial transfer of power, the former President was charged over his detention of Chief Criminal Court Judge Abdulla Mohamed, after parliament and the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) failed to taken action over its extensive list of allegation against the judge.
Nasheed and the MDP dismissed the charges as a politically-motivated attempt to convict and obstruct Nasheed from contesting the presidential elections, pointing to the presence of political opponents on the JSC, including a rival presidential candidate, which had created both the court hearing the charges and appointed the panel of judges hearing the case.
The international community reacted with calls for the presidential election to be “free, fair and inclusive”, and concerns over the state of the judiciary were echoed in a special report by UN Special Rapporteur Gabriela Knaul.
The Nasheed trial subsequently stalled at the high court level, after Chief Judge of the High Court Ahmed Shareef issued an injunction. A day later the JSC suspended Shareef for what it claimed was an unrelated matter. He is currently contesting his suspension in court.
In his statement today, Nasheed stated that he had “received clearance from the courts and other state institutions” prior to submitting his candidature to the Elections Commission.
The Elections Commission has said it will formally announce accepted candidates 48 hours after receiving submissions.
At a press conference in Male, Nasheed thanked his supporters for ensuring he would be allowed to contest the election, and expressed gratitude to both his legal team and international actors. He also thanked reporters for their coverage of the MDP’s activities since the transfer of power in February 2012.
During the press conference Nasheed noted the current rapid political realignments taking place, such as the defection of the Adhaalath Party from President Waheed’s coalition to Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhoree Party and Waheed’s decision to run as an independent candidate.
Following Nasheed’s press conference Waheed’s remaining coalition partner, the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), followed suit.
Also observing that several senior members of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) had left the party, Nasheed invited the defectors to join the MDP.
Asked by reporters as to whether he was concerned about election rigging, Nasheed did not discount the possibility but said he believed that “the election will be free and fair after the voter list is properly finalised and observers, monitors and agents are able to participate.”
“When the tide has turned it becomes very difficult for anyone to swim against it,” Nasheed said.