The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) officially launched its parliamentary elections campaign at a rally in Malé last night.
Addressing supporters at the carnival area of the artificial beach, former President Mohamed Nasheed said the party was once again facing an election with “many new experiences” and “renewed courage”.
“The Maldivian Democratic Party has made a proposal to the Maldivian people. This party has brought hope of another way for the people – the hope that they could find housing, provide healthcare for their children, provide education for their children, travel easily from one place to another, and [the hope] that the Maldivian people will have social security,” he said.
The party’s aim was to fulfil the hopes of the Maldivian people, he added, pledging to “take you to the ‘Other Maldives.'”
“It is going to be 100 days since the Maldivian government changed the way the Supreme Court wanted. The people of our country can see very clearly how things transpired during the past 100 days. They said they will create 90,000-odd jobs but our people were watching when posts were divided among family members,” Nasheed said.
The Progressive Party of Maldives-led (PPM) coalition government has not formulated policies or launched any projects to spur job creation, Nasheed claimed.
“Building flats has stalled and they’re saying loudly that there’s no money for land reclamation,” he continued. “We are seeing the [public] transport system come to a halt. Going from one island to another for medical treatment or to visit relatives has once again become difficult.”
The MDP government’s policy of shifting schools to single sessions, which Nasheed contended was responsible for year-on-year improvements in the O’ Level pass rate, has been discontinued, he added.
Moreover, infrastructure projects in the atolls, such as construction of harbours and provision of electricity and waste management services, have also ceased, Nasheed said.
Nasheed argued that development projects remained stalled because senior government officials were working in their self-interest.
During last year’s presidential campaign, Nasheed had maintained that a power sharing arrangement to form a coalition government was incompatible with the presidential system envisioned in the Maldivian government.
Nasheed went on to call on the public to “vote for the scale [MDP logo]”.
“Vote for the scale to reform the judiciary. We are asking the Maldivian people to vote for the scale to not let the powers of the state be merged. We are asking the Maldivian people to vote for the scale to guarantee social security,” he said.
The former president expressed confidence that the MDP would secure a “comfortable majority” in the upcoming parliamentary polls scheduled for March 22. The party is contesting all 85 constituencies.
At last night’s rally, 84 of the party’s candidates for the People’s Majlis were brought on stage to read out a declaration pledging loyalty to the party.
The MDP’s slogan for this year’s campaign is “Vote for the scale for separation of powers.”