Resort owner and government-aligned politician Ahmed ‘Sun Travel’ Shiyam has said that the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) won the presidential election by fighting the entire international community.
“We had to fight with the whole world to win the presidential election. The EU, made up of 30 countries, the Commonwealth, our neighbouring countries, and several organisations were against us,” Shiyam was quoted as saying by Sun Online – party of the MP’s Sun Media Group.
Shiyam’s Maldivian Development Alliance formed an alliance with the PPM going into the repeatedly-delayed presidential polls, supporting the eventual winner Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
“Even the UN was working 24 hours to make sure that we lose the election,” Shiyam was quoted as telling a rally in Male’ yesterday evening.
The annulment of the first round of the presidential election – held on September 7 – was followed by further delays to the rescheduled poll, bringing strong criticism from international actors, whose observer missions had found no problems with the initial vote.
After conducting its own review of the a secret police intelligence report purported to demonstrate voting irregularities, the UN argued that there was no disenfranchisement and that the voter register had met with international standards.
Newly elected President Yameen, meanwhile, struck a more conciliatory tone yesterday, assuring the Indian Prime Minister of his administration’s desire for enhanced bilateral ties.
Writing to Manmohan Singh, the President’s Office website reported Yameen as emphasising that “diverse Indo-Maldives people-to-people contact offers avenues for further cooperation”.
Yameen also urged Singh to pay an official visit to the Maldives as soon as it was mutually convenient to do so.
The Maldives’ traditionally close ties with India came under increasing strain under the previous government – of which the PPM was a prominent partner. The cancellation of a deal to develop Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in December 2012 was a particularly contentious issue.
During a visit to India in June, former President and PPM leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom told the Indian PM of his disappointment that the Maldives’ relationship with India had been impacted upon by the then-government’s decision to evict GMR from the country with seven days notice.
“This was a mistake. Had he consulted all political parties, the public would not have formed the impression that corruption had taken place,” Gayoom was reported as saying in the Hindu.
The cancellation of the project is currently being investigated in a Singapore court of arbitration, with the Indian infrastructure company seeking US$1.4 billion in compensation – more than the Maldives’ annual budget.
The government’s sudden eviction of the Indian investor was quickly followed by a list of 11 grievances handed to all senior Maldivian reporters by the Indian High Commission in January this year.
The list included concerns such as discrimination against Indian expatriates and the confiscation of passports by Maldivian employers.