Convicted Former President Mohamed Nasheed on Saturday vowed that the opposition will defeat President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and pass the motion of no confidence against parliamentary speaker Abdulla Maseeh, saying that political leaders of varying opinions have come together after putting their differences behind them.
In an interview to Mihaaru regarding a pact signed by leaders of the opposition on Friday, Former President Nasheed declared that all political leaders are united against President Yameen and ready to put the nation back on track. He stated that passing the motion of no confidence against Speaker Maseeh is first on the agenda of the pact which was signed by main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s parliamentary group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s Ahmed Faris Maumoon, Jumhoory Party’s Abdulla Riyaz and religiously conservative Adhaalath Party’s Anara Naeem.
“Under such circumstances, I don’t think the members of parliament are of a different opinion. I expect we will win [the vote against Maseeh] by a large margin,” said Nasheed over a phone call from neighbouring Sri Lanka.
Opposition lawmakers require a minimum of 42 votes to pass the no confidence motion. However, ruling PPM which holds the parliament majority has repeatedly declared that the opposition will fail.
However, Former President Nasheed said that the images now seen on social media indicate differently. Referring to a photograph taken of a press conference held by PPM and the government coalition partner Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), Nasheed commented that there were only 41 members including Speaker Abdulla Maseeh in total. He claimed to have confidence that at least six of those members will vote against Maseeh.
The speaker himself cannot vote in the motion of no confidence though the parliament has allocated thirty minutes for him to present his defence during the debate.
Saying that the nation is going backwards ever since President Yameen came to power, Nasheed stated that the main objective of removing Maseeh from position is to change the president’s policy and methods of ruling. He declared that such changes are necessary to ensure fair elections for the people.
“There is a lot to be done to ensure fairness in the Presidential Elections 2018. We haven’t been able to hold the Local Council Elections, either, and we don’t think they will be held. Hence, we also need to bring changes to the Elections Commission. We have much to do to strengthen independent institutions,” said Nasheed.
According to Nasheed, the main aim of the opposition leaders is to make use of the parliament majority their unity brings them and achieve their targets. He also called on PPM’s lawmakers to “overcome their fear” and cooperate with the opposition coalition. As an example, he highlighted Dhiggaru MP Faris Maumoon who had spearheaded the motion of no confidence against Speaker Maseeh and is defying the ruling party.
“Persevering as such without fear makes it apparent to all who a true leader is,” said Nasheed and urged all parliamentarians to overcome their fear in the field of politics.
He added that all the political leaders have put aside their difference and come together with a baggage of experience. Stating that their cooperation is necessary for the future of the Maldives, Nasheed requested all leaders to maintain this unity and work together to ensure democracy for the coming generations.