The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has estimates that over 10,000 supporters were in attendance on Thursday night as it held its final major rally prior to the Saturday (September 7) presidential election in capital city Male’.
The rally started with a set of video interviews with members of the general public, who shared their reasons for supporting MDP presidential candidate, and former president, Mohamed Nasheed.
As the first speaker at the rally, the MDP’s vice presidential candidate Dr Mustafa Lutfi stated that “Saturday will be the historical day when we citizens re-establish the democracy that was taken away from us”.
“Nasheed is neither a relative, nor an old friend of mine. He used to be just a name I heard. However, today I have for him the deepest respect and love I would have for a hero of the nation.”
“He has been working since 1990 to gain human rights and democracy for us citizens of Maldives. He continued with the struggle for freedom despite being jailed, tortured, placed under house arrest and being placed in solitary confinement. And even when his democratic government was toppled in the February 7 coup, he took a step back and then with more might is walking forward with us again to regain democracy,” Lutfi continued.
The only other speaker at the rally was the presidential candidate himself.
“MDP is a party that takes steps forward. We are here to establish a people’s government. We believe the people of this country deserve far better than they have today. We are here to develop the Maldives,” Nasheed said addressed the large gathering of supporters.
“In the past 18 months, I have slept in 343 different beds. We have visited all the islands of Maldives. We have met with many Maldivian citizens. We know the sentiments of the Maldivian people. We have stepped forward to make the dreams of the Maldivian people a reality. We will win this election in the first round, in a single round,” he said, prompting loud applause from the crowd.
“We are calling on the people to roll up your sleeves and come with us to develop the country. Development of this country is our only aim, our only objective,” Nasheed continued.
“A nation is developed through doing particular things at a particular time in a certain manner. These things can be known through putting forward criticism and conducting peaceful political activities by competitive parties in a multi-party system. The biggest obstacle to this country’s development was the habit of torture and brutality exercised in this country’s past against anyone who expressed differences in opinion. We are here to overcome this obstacle. We will win the elections in one round,” he stated.
“You can push us down onto the ground and force us to eat sand, but we will stand up again. We will not step back. We will bring good governance to the people. Our courage cannot be deterred. We will develop this country, we will build the whole nation,” Nasheed concluded his speech.
Former State Minister of Islamic Affairs during Nasheed’s administration, Sheikh Hussain Rasheed, concluded the rally with a prayer, joined in by the thousands of supporters gathered at the rally.
After the speeches were delivered and the prayer recited, the party then held a laser show, with some of the images depicting themes related to the party and its policies, along with campaign songs by various artists from around the country.