Nasheed “will not be allowed to assume power” even if he wins election: PPM running mate Dr Mohamed Jameel

Running mate of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s Presidential Candidate Abdulla Yameen, Dr Mohamed Jameel, has declared that opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s Presidential Candidate and former President Mohamed Nasheed “will not be allowed to assume power”, even should he emerge as the clear winner in the run-off election scheduled to take place on September 28.

The provisional results of last Saturday’s presidential election showed the MDP finishing the race on top with 45.45 percent of the popular vote or 95,224 votes. The PPM came second with 53,099 votes – 42,125 votes less than the MDP – while the Jumhooree Coalition led by resort tycoon Gasim Ibrahim came third with 50,422 votes and incumbent President Mohamed Waheed Hassan finishing the race at the bottom with just 10,750 votes – 5.13 percent.

The results mean that the winner of the election are to be decided through a run-off election – contested by both the PPM and the MDP – scheduled to take place on September 28. Both parties have since commenced their campaign.

During the PPM’s first campaign rally since the first round of the election, Jameel asserted on Tuesday night that his party was not prepared to hand over the country to Nasheed, whom he described as an “evil, wicked, radical and especially a mad man”.

“We will not hand over this country to an evil, wicked, mad man. We will not hand over through an election, [we] will not hand over even if he gets elected,” Jameel said.

The sacked Home Minister also vowed to “imprison Nasheed for a lengthy period” should a PPM government come to power.

“I am still saying that [Nasheed] will go to jail, by Allah’s will he will go to jail, we will do it, we will do it with Allah’s beneficence. We are waiting for the moment. At the right moment, we are certain that you [Nasheed] will be in jail,” Jameel told supporters.

He also promised free housing and healthcare for every police and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officer under a PPM government.

Clarifying his remarks to Minivan News on Wednesday, Jameel stated that his comments during the rally reflected the “criminal charge filed against Nasheed” and other possible charges.

“As there is an impending [criminal] charge on him, he would be facing the outcome of the trial that would stop him from holding [the office of the president]. That is what I meant [at the rally],” Dr Jameel explained.

“Also, audit report exposes budget misappropriation of MVR 4.7 billion in addition to several corruption allegations which ultimately former President Nasheed will have to face. That is what I meant. So as a result of these charges he would not be able to hold the office,” he added.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) blasted Jameel’s remarks stating that he was “unfit to hold public office”.

Speaking to Minivan News, MDP Spokesperson MP Imthiyaz Fahmy claimed that Jameel’s remarks showed how desperate the PPM were, and indicated that it was expecting a “bad election day” on September 28.

“He is openly refusing to obey the constitution and the laws of the country. He has openly announced another coup. This is a very serious remark,” Fahmy told Minivan News.

The MDP spokesperson also accused the PPM of not understanding how to campaign, only how carry out anti-campaigns against Nasheed.

“If this is a free democratic country that upholds the law, I am sure the police would have arrested the man while he was on the podium. I believe the police must investigate the statement and the Prosecutor General should press charges against him,” Fahmy claimed.

The government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Parliamentary Group Leader Dr Abdulla Mausoom also criticised Jameel on local media.

Mausoom claimed that Jameel’s remarks meant that he was preparing to “break the laws for a lengthy period of time”.

Jameel – who played a central role in toppling Nasheed’s government on February 2012 – had previously repeated his claim in the press, both before and after Nasheed’s controversial step down, that he would make sure the former president is “put away for a long time”.

Last March, during the PPM’s presidential primaries, Dr Jameel declared that it was both a “national and a religious Farḍ (obligation)” to prevent Nasheed from contesting the presidential election.

“Nasheed of Kenereege does not have any chance to come to power. We would not give that chance [to him]. That is something we ought to do. It is both a national and a religious Farḍ (obligation),” Jameel said at the time.

During the lead up to the mutiny by the police and the military on February 7, 2012, that forced the change in government, Jameel publicly announced in an anti-government rally that an Islamic jihad (struggle) against Nasheed’s government was an “obligation” to all Maldivian Muslims.

Jameel while he was a member of the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) was one of the co-authors of a “hate-pamphlet” released against Nasheed’s government, in which it claimed that Nasheed was participating in “an anti-Islamic conspiracy”.

“Since 2006 Gaza where many millions live has been blocked from land, air and sea and all its inhabitants enslaved and locked up. Nevertheless after coming to power Nasheed’s main priority was fostering ties with Jews,” read the English translation of the pamphlet.


Candidates to file for presidential election on July 15: Elections Commission

Candidates for the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for September 7 will be invited to file their candidacy with the Elections Commission (EC) from July 15, the commission has stated.

Along with opposition leader former President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), leaders of several political parties currently aligned with the current government of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan – including the incumbent – have publicly announced they will be competing for the office.

Leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, Leader of the Jumhoree Party (JP) and business tycoon MP Gasim Ibrahim and Parliamentary Group Leader of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), MP Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom – who won the party’s controversial presidential primary beating rival Umar Naseer – have publicly announced their bids for the presidency.

Speaking Minivan News on Sunday, President of the EC Fuad Thaufeeq said that the opening of the candidacies was not a “new announcement” as the constitution required the commission to announce the presidential election 120 days prior to the end of the current presidential term, which expires in November 2013. Therefore, he said the opportunity to file for formal candidacy needed to be opened on July 15.

“From July 15, all prospective candidates will get a 10-day period to file their candidacy with us. This period will include public holidays as well. So the due date to file candidacy will be July 24,” he said.

According to Thaufeeq, the commission has begun preparations for the presidential poll and is currently working on finalising “regulations” concerning the election which he claimed would be completed within a week’s time.

During the period in which the commission opened the regulation for public commenting, the EC president said it had received significant support from major political parties including the MDP, PPM and DRP.

Apart from the political parties, Thaufeeq also said that local NGO Transparency Maldives had also given very “constructive comments” on the draft regulation.

Transparency recently published a comprehensive pre-election assessment, highlighting vote-buying, political polarisation, and credibility as critical challenges for the 2013 elections.

The election was set to take place “against a context of uncertainty, crises of political legitimacy and unprecedented levels of political polarisation,” the NGO noted.

The Elections Commission has meanwhile revealed that this year’s presidential elections – which will be the country’s second multiparty presidential poll since the formation of political parties in 2005 – will see 31,000 new voters casting their vote.

According to the statistics from the commission, the total number of eligible voters for the election stands at 240,302 – 31,008 more than the number of eligible voters in the 2008 presidential elections (209,294).

The commission in March also opened registration for voters who are currently not residing on the island where they are initially registered to vote, in a bid to increase voter turnout for the 2013 election.

According to the statistics published at the commission’s website, voter turnout for the first round of the 2008 Presidential Elections stood at 85.38 percent with a slight rise in the second round of polling, at 85.58 percent.

The President is elected through a universal suffrage ballot where a candidate must obtain a minimum margin of 50 percent plus 1 vote to secure an election victory. Should any of the candidate contesting in the election failed to get the required number of votes, a run-off election is held after a 20-day period contested by the two candidates with the largest share of votes, to decide the winner.

Former President and the opposition MDP’s presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed predicted that he would win the election in the first round while the remaining government-aligned candidates have maintained the winner of the elections will be decided in a run-off election, where losing parties form coalitions with either of the two remaining candidates.

Despite the claim, the opposition MDP have claimed that they do not plan to go into a power-sharing coalition with parties, elaborating that coalition governments were incompatible with the country’s presidential system of governance.

Nasheed – who was elected as the President in 2008 with the backing of then-coalition of parties “Wathan Edhey Gothah Iththihaadh” which fell apart within the first year of his presidency – previously claimed that he along with all political leaders of the country had tasted the “bitter lesson” of incompatibility of coalition governments and described that the idea of coalition governments contrasted with the spirit of the constitution.