Former President and Leader of Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has claimed “I had no role in the change of government”, while dismissing the accusations of his involvement in the ousting of his successor Mohamed Nasheed on February 7 as “baseless rumors”.
Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) alleges that Gayoom was at the centre organising what the party insists was a bloodless coup d’état in which elements of police and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) were bribed to align with then-opposition demonstrators led by Gayoom’s PPM party forcing Nasheed to resign on February 7.
However, after returning to Maldives on Monday night from an unofficial trip to Malaysia, Gayoom defended himself claiming that “I had never attempted to over throw Nasheed’s government illegally or outside legal bounds”.
“I had no role in the change of government and such rumours are baseless,” Gayoom further claimed.
However, he noted that his party had protested within the legal bounds to resist unlawful acts of the government.
Meanwhile, Gayoom – whose 30-year-old rule came to an end after he lost the country’s first multiparty elections to Nasheed in 2008 – objected to MDP’s calls for early elections citing that the constitution gives “no room” for it.
He quoted the constitution’s stipulations which state elections must be held once in every five years or it shall be called if both the President and the Vice-President resign simultaneously or their offices become vacant at the same time.
Furthermore, noting that if the President resigns for any reason the constitution allows the Vice President to assume office and continue the remainder of his predecessor’s term – Gayoom said, “Waheed has been sworn in constitutionally”.
“Therefore, there is no room for an [early] election according to the constitution and in my opinion neither does politically.” Gayoom concluded, pledging full support to Waheed’s administration which is now run by a cabinet stacked with majority Gayoom loyalists.
Thousand of supporters of Gayoom gathered at the Republican Square and on the streets to welcome Gayoom, while Minivan News observed that security was elevated in the area and Gayoom was taken to his residence in a defence force car.