Winner of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s presidential primary and now the party’s official Presidential Candidate MP Yameen Abdul Gayoom has said that he is willing “to go any depths” necessary in order to secure a PPM victory in the 2013 Presidential Elections, scheduled for September 7.
The remark was made in a statement released by Yameen following his victory in PPM’s presidential primary.
Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s half brother was selected as the party’s presidential candidate on Saturday (March 30) in a landslide victory in the party’s presidential primary, securing 63 percent of the vote. The preliminary results revealed Yameen had won the election with a total of 13,096 votes, while his sole competitor Umar Naseer received just 7,450 votes – a margin of 5,646 votes.
Yameen – who is also the PPM’s parliamentary group leader – in his victory statement said that he would remain “firm and determined” in protecting the “faith and trust” placed in him by the party members.
“The decision that you beloved people have made is a very important decision that concerns the future of both PPM and the Maldivian soil,” read Yameen’s statement. “All of you party members have placed a huge trust and faith in me. By the will of Allah, I am ever more determined to protect that trust and faith you have placed in me. I have rolled up my sleeves and am prepared to serve PPM and this beloved nation.”
The PPM parliamentary group leader also promised to work towards broadening the party in terms of membership through membership drives and campaigns.
He also appealed to Umar Naseer whom he referred to as “fellow brother”, asking him to “not let down your courage in despair” and to join him side by side to work on establishing a PPM government by winning the presidential elections.
“As you would all know, this is the time in which the PPM should unite as one and start working in spirit to win the upcoming presidential elections. I am with all you party members, prepared to make any sacrifices required to ensure that PPM wins the presidential elections 2013,” the statement added.
Umar Naseer’s team pledge to back Yameen
Following the election results, Yameen’s presidential rival Umar Naseer accepted defeat and congratulated Yameen on his election victory.
“If it’s a free and fair election, I will always accept the final result. I believe so far the election has been fair. As I said we will know how to proceed once we assess the complaints,” Naseer told local newspaper Haveeru.
“The party won’t be divided. I believe this will further strengthen the party as this exercise shows the strength of democracy within this party,” he added.
Speaking to local media outlet CNM, Umar Naseer’s Campaign Manager Ahmed ‘Maaz’ Saleem said that Umar’s team would back Yameen and was prepared to work together with him.
“This is something like a practice match played by two groups of one football team. During the practice match, players will tackle and they will even score goals. However, when you face a tournament, the team comes out as one to compete with other teams. This is something like that,” he said.
Saleem stated that the team had received some complaints during the voting period, and that these complaints were forwarded to those in charge of holding the elections. However, Saleem added that it was no longer an issue and that “the primary is over now”.
Saleem – who is a close aide of Umar Naseer – also earlier claimed that he personally doubted the fairness of the election claiming that Yameen had attempted to create disruptions at the polling stations by sending “groups of thugs”.
During the time of voting, local TV station Raajje TV captured a brief scuffle on camera between supporters of the two presidential primary candidates.
The footage shows police being brought in to control the crowd, who are dressed in the party’s pink colour scheme.
Yameen told local media shortly after casting his vote outside the Aminiya School in Male’ that despite the minor conflicts, the party would not split.
“Overall, the voting is alright. But people from within the party have entered voting centres and have tried to start fights,” he was quoted as saying in Sun Online.
“They have raised they voices, used foul language, this should not happen in an internal election. It is very sad.”
PPM’s elections committee has said that the party will announce the official results of the election within a week’s time. Chair of PPM’s Election Committee, Mohamed Tholal said that the election took place in a very peaceful environment and the voting proceeded very swiftly.
Meanwhil,e former President of the Maldives and PPM president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, called for PPM members to show the world what a “responsible party” the PPM was during Saturday’s primary.
Gayoom also said following the elections that he would work with PPM members to see its candidate win the presidential election.