The incumbent government "cannot digest" the Hope Conference and its turnout, and the opposition’s ongoing endeavours will result in their leader and former President Abdulla Yameen being the president again, the opposition coalition leader Abdul Raheem Abdullah said on Saturday night.
The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the People’s National Congress (PNC) coalition held their "Dhuppaan" rally (meaning "nuisance" in Dhivehi) last night in Artificial Beach in Malé to conclude the Hope Conference. Speaking at the gathering, Abdul Raheem reiterated that all of the opposition’s efforts will culminate in Yameen being back in the office of President.
He also responded to Adhaalath Party’s president and Minister of Home Affairs Imran Abdullah’s tweet, which questioned the motives of the opposition’s leadership. "Instead of honestly trying to free [President Yameen], it is beginning to appear more and more obvious that the [opposition] leadership has some other agenda that they are working towards," the home minister tweeted on Friday amidst the opposition’s conference.
Abdul Raheem said that the coalition is working to show its actual strength and might, and that when they achieve this goal, Imran "will have to go back to jail," taking a jab at how their leader Yameen had sentenced Adhaalath Party's leader to 12-years in prison on terrorism charges in early 2016. The Supreme Court nullified his prison sentence in November 2018.
He alleged that the reason government officials are travelling so much to different islands to initiate projects is because "they saw the real size" of the opposition.
"Do not try to interfere with President Yameen. Impeding Yameen means interfering with this country’s independence. Impeding Yameen means interfering with the bloodline of Maldivians. Impeding Yameen means interfering with this country’s future. Impeding Yameen means interfering with our Islamic ways," Abdul Raheem said.
"God willing, President Yameen’s name will be on the ballot paper this year."
Referring to the recent ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s presidential primary election, Abdul Raheem said that the opposition coalition has the "true formula" for winning the upcoming presidential election. He said that former President Yameen will emerge victorious in the September 9 election.
Connecting his speech with the rally’s slogan, "Dhuppaan," Abdul Raheem said that the current government is a "nuisance" to the citizens and the only way to overcome this is by re-electing Yameen.
During last night’s rally, several of the PPM-PNC coalition’s leadership spoke, all of whom called for the immediate release of their leader, Yameen. The rally was the concluding event of the Hope Conference, which commenced last Thursday with over 1,000 supporters of Yameen signing up for it.
Former President Yameen is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence in Maafushi Prison for his involvement in the fraudulent lease of Vaavu atoll Aarah; Yameen was convicted of bribery and money laundering in this case on December 25, 2022. He was also fined MVR 5 million in relation to the charges.