The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) held a rally on Friday night to celebrate the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party’s (DRP) support in the second round of the presidential election.
Jumhooree Party (JP) founding member Ahmed ‘ADK’ Nashid and Maldives Reform Movement leader Dr Mohamed Munavvar – also the former MDP chairperson – also announced their support for the party at the rally, attended by several thousand supporters.
DRP leader Thasmeen Ali, MPs Abdulla Mausoom, Visam Ali, Mohamed Nashiz, Rozaina Adam and other members of the party attended the rally held in the Alimas Carnival area of Male’.
Making the opening statement, MDP Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik asserted that, despite rumours allegedly being spread by political competitors, the two parties had not formed a coalition, and that the DRP had merely decided to back the MDP and to provide assistance in winning the upcoming second round of the election.
The DRP had gone into the first round in coalition with incumbent President Mohamed Waheed.
Speaking at the rally, DRP leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali said that the party had made the decision based on the overwhelming support that the MDP had received in the September 7 election.
“I assure you that I stand here today with sincerity to ensure MDP succeeds in the coming election, God willing I will stay dedicated to achieving this,” Thasmeen began, prompting a standing ovation from the gathered supporters.
“This country is changing at a very fast pace. This country is going forward, swiftly forward,” he continued, borrowing MDP’s campaign slogan for the second round.
“I don’t believe that anyone can inhibit these tides of change. We have clearly seen the results of the first round of elections. President Nasheed and MDP got 95,000 votes. This is a huge achievement, and incredible success, and I congratulate you all for it.”
“We fully accept the results of the first round. There is no indication that any foul play was involved. I believe that if one fails, one must accept it and learn to digest the loss. In my opinion, it will be irresponsible for any politician or party to not back one of the candidates who are to contest in the final round of this election,” Thasmeen said.
“I want to see the democratic system strengthened and maintained”
“We must think deeply about the two candidates. I thought about which candidate would prioritize national interest, about which candidate would least entertain thoughts of revenge. There is no question in my mind about who that is, it is doubtless MDP’s candidate Mohamed Nasheed,” he stated.
“After taking office in 2008, Nasheed did not act towards his opponents with any intentions of taking revenge. On a single occasion, President Maumoon [Progressive Party of Maldives leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom] was summoned to the police office, but even then he was taken with all due official respect. Nasheed did not treat either Maumoon or his family with any vindictiveness,” he said.
“The democratic system that came in 2008 with the new constitution is a system that we want to maintain, both then and now,” said Thasmeen – who had contested in the 2008 presidential elections as Gayoom’s running mate.
“A president elected by the people’s vote will take oath. The people will ensure this. The people will not let anyone do this in any other way,” he said, criticizing PPM running mate Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed’s statement in a rally held last week that Nasheed will not be allowed to take office even if he wins the second round of elections.
“I also worked with Gayoom during the reform process which began in 2005. I did so believing that he will stop ruling with autonomy and will step aside and hand over the reigns of the country to a new generation. However, in light of his actions since losing the 2008 elections to date, we have realized that all along his intentions had been to prolong his 30 years of rule. That is not something that will benefit this country, and that is not what the people want today, or even then. We must not give him space to do so,” Thasmeen explained.
“I am standing at this podium tonight and supporting Nasheed because I want to see peace in this country after these elections, because I want to see the democratic system strengthened and maintained. Because the country will not see development unless democracy is upheld. For these reasons, Nasheed must be elected in these elections,” Thasmeen said.
“I believe that it would be an irresponsible and cowardly act to back away from doing what must be done to ensure that democracy is upheld in this country due to some words I might have said in the past. And therefore, tonight I assure all of you that DRP will do everything we possibly can to help Nasheed win these elections. I will stand firm in actively doing whatever is needed of me to reach this goal. We will join campaign activities, and you will see us participate in all campaign events,” he continued.
“God willing, Candidate number one, MDP’s Mohamed Nasheed will take the oath of presidency on Monday, November 11, 2013,” said Thasmeen, concluding his speech to loud applause.
Thasmeen’s speech was followed by similar pledges of support for democracy and the MDP from the other new faces, including MP Rozaina Adam, Dr. Mohamed Munavvar and former Ahmed Nashid.
The last speaker at Friday’s rally was Mohamed Nasheed, who thanked all those who are now extending support to the party, before echoing the pledges and plans included in the party’s manifesto.
Aerial footage of MDP’s rally on Friday: