Parties rally on penultimate day before polling

The Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) held final campaign rallies on Thursday night ahead of the first round of presidential elections scheduled for November 9.

The Jumhooree Party did not hold a full scale rally on the evening.

The PPM promoted the party as the only party that would protect Islam and Maldives’ sovereignty and hailed the PPM’s presidential candidate Yameen Abdul Gayoom as an economic expert.

The MDP focused on themes of good governance, ensuring basic services such as medical care, transport and education and ending the authoritarianism of the past.

Yameen’s speech centered on alleged corruption during the three years MDP’s presidential candidate and former President Mohamed Nasheed had stayed in power and the importance of protecting Islamic faith.

“Yellow is a colour that has quarantined our whole country. They sold our airport to foreigners, but with God’s will and the work of many united parties, we were able to get it back,” Yameen said, alleging “although it was done under a contract, it is still classified as corruption as it would have benefited the foreigners more than the people of our country,” continued Yameen.

Referring to a speech given by his Electoral Agent Abdulla Ameen – who had listed out 11 persons he alleged had gained large amounts of money through corrupt means during Nasheed’s administration – Yameen argued that Nasheed’s government had misused MVR4,700million.

“However, when Nasheed came to power, he made a Presidential Commission – outside constitutional provisions – to investigate Maumoon and his cabinet for corruption. They could not find any evidence against Maumoon, nor will they ever be able to. Is it still the thirty years [of Gayoom’s administration] that we should still be questioning?”

“We will give you the dignified life you want”: Nasheed

Speaking to thousands of supporters at Raalhugandu, MDP’s presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed said, “We will defeat those who brought about a coup through the vote. God willing, we will win this election in one round. We will take the Maldives to safe shores.”

Saturday’s vote was a vote for a dignified life, shelter, medical care, transport, education and job opportunities, Nasheed said.

He spoke of the long journey Maldivians had traveled out of authoritarianism and the numerous setbacks along the way. He commended the determination of the Maldivian people to move forward.

He described the delay in voting as an attempt to destroy the constitution.

“It is always the people of this country who have the power to uphold the constitution. Saturday is an opportunity to use that power to save this state, this Maldives. Vote for me, god willing, we will make Maldives upright again. We will give you the dignified life you want,” he said.

The Maldives is rich in natural resources and Maldivians deserve a lot more than they currently have, Nasheed said.

He also said the Supreme Court’s annulment of the vote had in fact increased support for the MDP.

Speaking about the PPM and JP’s reluctance to sign the voter registry on Tuesday, Nasheed said the two parties had changed their minds because of international pressure.

“They say for the nation, for the country, but in truth at last they had to sign the voter list because a German tourist agency ordered them to. They had to sign because a tourist agency told them to. Because that’s where the dollars come from. [They] contest elections for dollars. [They] sign the voter lists for dollars. All of life is based around for dollars. Maldivians want to tell them I am a proud Maldivian. I will look after my children through honest work,” he said.