Exiled Ex-Maldivian President Nasheed to contest Presidential Election Next Year

Exiled Ex-Maldivian President Nasheed to contest Presidential Election Next Year
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Former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed declared yesterday that he would be contesting the Maldives Presidential Election in 2018 as a candidate representing the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP).

Addressing a news conference in Colombo, the 49-year-old leader, who faces jail in the Maldives for his 2015 conviction on terror-related charges, said that he was eligible to contest the internal election in the Maldives.

“The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled that my detention and arrest were unlawful and politically motivated. That ruling further goes on to say that my civil and political rights must be restored. This ruling clearly allows me to contest any election that I want to contest. I hope to win the Maldivian Democratic Party’s ticket as the Party’s candidate of choice for the 2018 Maldives Presidential Elections.” he said.

Nasheed was sentenced to jail in March, 2015, after he was convicted on a terror-related charge, inviting widespread international condemnation. Yameen narrowly beat Nasheed in a controversial run off election in 2013.

He also stated that MDP would not boycott the elections on any account. Pointing out that President Yameen had not adhered to any international ruling, he said the Maldives had left the Commonwealth because the Commonwealth wanted the Maldivian Government to reform. “We are a political party that engages in peaceful political activities. We would advocate and call upon the international community to assist us and be more robust in its engagement with the Government of the Maldives. We hope that the Government of the Maldives will understand the need to be in the family of nations and not to move away from international norms, international rulings and international bodies as well,” Nasheed said.

In response to a question, he said the international community was working behind the scenes to guarantee the democratic freedoms in the Maldives and “those efforts will bear fruit”. Nasheed said the international partners should ensure an all inclusive election. Nasheed was granted political asylum in the UK last May after he was authorised by the Maldivian government to travel for medical treatment while serving a 13-year sentence for a terror-related offence.

 “The United Nations attempted to have an all party dialogue but this has not been very effective. We would, of course, like more engagement by the international community,” he said. Highlighting the strategic importance of the Maldives for the nations in the Indian Ocean, he noted that destabilisation of the Maldives would lead to instability in nations within the Indian Ocean. Therefore, he stressed the importance of the international community’s having a plan; to bring back stability to the Maldives.

 “We would certainly like to see more engagement, and we would also like to see neighbouring countries having a view and a plan on the situation in the Maldives,” he said. Adding that President Yameen had been isolated in his bid for political power, Nasheed added that even former Maldivian president Gayoom was concerned about the deteriorating situation in the Maldives.

 

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