President Dr Mohamed Waheed has today said he will not be backing any particular candidate in the election rerun scheduled for Saturday (October 19), while highlighting what he claimed was “room for doubt” over the integrity and fairness of this year’s polls.
Speaking via local media on the occasion of Eid-al-Adha today, President Waheed, who this week announced he would not be contesting in Saturday’s election, said all Maldivians would share the success of the winning candidate.
During the now defunct presidential poll held on September 7, President Waheed obtained 5.13 percent of the popular vote, finishing last of the four candidates contesting.
The president was quoted in local media as refusing to accept that he had only taken just over 5 percent of the ballot that was annulled by the Supreme Court.
“There are some people who believe that, since it was decided that I gained only five percent of votes in the election, I have no right to speak for the Maldivian people. I don’t accept that, because it is the result of a void election, and because given my post, every action I take affects a large group Maldivian people,” he was quoted as saying in Sun Online.
The outgoing president said that it remained the duty of all Maldivian heads of state “to bring happiness and joy in to the hearts of the people, and to save them from the uneasiness and conflict that has engulfed the country”, according to a summary of his speech provided by the President’s Office.
Dr Waheed, who was elected to office as vice president in the country’s first democratic multi-party election in 2008 as the running mate of former President Mohamed Nasheed, took office himself on February 7, 2012 on the back of a mutiny by sections of the police and military.
Waheed became the president in a controversial transfer of power, alleged by Nasheed to have been a “coup d’etat” orchestrated by his then vice president and political opponents
Addressing the nation on greater Eid – Eid al Adha – President Waheed said the best care had been taken of the “treasure” Maldivian citizens had trusted him with five years ago.
However, questioning the integrity of the election currently scheduled to be held on Saturday (October 19), he claimed that division and vengeance was now widespread in society, adding that it had now become very difficult to differentiate between fact and fabrication.
The election on September 7, which saw an 88 percent voter turnout, was unanimously considered credible and democratic by more than 1000 local and international election observers, before the country’s Supreme Court annulled the vote over allegations of voter irregularities.
According to the President’s Office, unspecified individuals were now creating conflict and hatred in society for the purpose of political gain, though no further clarification was given on the comments.
“However much you deny it, the truth would still be the truth. However much you try to defend it, a lie would still be a lie,” stated the outgoing president, whose term is constitutionally set to end on November 11 this year.
Former President Nasheed was the front runner with 45.45 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, Dr Waheed’s own former election running mate, (DRP) Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali Leader, has said he is now backing Nasheed in Saturday’s election.