President Mohamed Nasheed has said that Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) will change the number of judges in the Supreme Court and strive to bring their thinking closer to that of the people, and closer to justice.
“We can never accept the level of political influence and the ugly money of corruption that has entered most courts of Maldives. We have to reform these courts. Development for the Maldives can only be achieved if the people Maldives are able to get justice and equality.”
Speaking at a parliamentary campaign rally in Thinadhoo, Gaafu Dhaalu atoll, Nasheed said that the judicial watchdog will also be reformed by amending the Judicial Services Commission Act.
He said that the MDP’s priority was judicial reform, and that nothing else could be carried out in the Maldives without such reform.
Nasheed said that society does not accept the offering and taking of bribes by judges or their meddling in political affairs.
“We cannot accept the judiciary’s meddling with the Elections Commission under the parliament’s guardianship. With a Maldivian Democratic Party majority in the 18th People’s Majlis, we will – God willing – reform the judiciary,” he said.
Nasheed said the MDP was competing in the parliamentary elections with a promise of obtaining the ownership of local resources for locals.
“We have to empower the councils. As long that power is retrained, we won’t be able to achieve the development we want,” Nasheed said.
Stating the central government in Malé could not achieve development without decentralisation and the empowerment of local councils, Nasheed said that islands are capable of carrying out their development activities by themselves.
“The wealth of our country is widespread and enormous. Our people have even today started accepting that this is not the rightful amount for the people. Our objective is to get for the people their rightful due,” said the former president.
Referring to the ‘southern rebellion’ of 1959, Nasheed said that it was the same rightful due that the people of Thinadhoo and Huvadhoo hoped and protested for in the past.
“Back then most of us saw the people’s protests as acts against the state. By any modern standard they were protests. Excessive force was used to disperse those protests and many people died.”
“We don’t want to see that, but people will stand up if they these powers are not given to them, and they will work to get their powers,” Nasheed said.
A key objective of the MDP in the parliament was to hold the government accountable as an opposition party, he added, reiterating that the MDP would encourage the fulfillment of government pledges in line with the party policies.
During campaigning for his Progressive Party of Maldives last week, President Abdulla Yameen told party supporters that an MDP majority would seek to oust his government from office.
Indeed, following the local council elections in January, Nasheed pledged that his party would take advantage of any legal means to remove Yameen after what it maintains was a fraudulent presidential election last year.