First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim could run against all the opposition leaders by herself in the upcoming presidential election, and she would still emerge victorious, Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed claimed Saturday night.
Speaking at a ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) rally held in reclaimed suburb Hulhumale, the economic minister had attempted to show the scale of support for the ruing party. In this light, he said that if the first lady competed against President Abdulla Yameen’s current political rivals, which include former president and his half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, former President Mohamed Nasheed, Jumhoory Party leader Qasim Ibrahim and Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdullah, in a presidential election, she would still be able to defeat them by popular vote.
“Let’s forget the president, our parliamentary group and all of our esteemed parliamentarians for a while – the current opposition leaders wouldn’t be able to compete with the first lady,” Saeed said.
Speaking about the president’s bid for re-election, Saeed said that Yameen’s campaign would be based on “three pillars”. One of these pillars is upholding the Islamic principles, while the multi-million dollar Velana International Airport and its development were also described as a “pillar” of Yameen’s second term. Saeed went on to say that the 25-storey Dharumavantha Hospital being built in Male is the third “pillar” of his second term of presidency as it would ensure the Maldives’ sovereignty since Maldivians would not have to be dependent on its “neighbours for medical help.”
Criticising the ruling government’s political opponents, he said that during former President Maumoon’s presidency, “defaming people was in fashion.” He went on to add that during his presidency, there were a number of attempted coups, and accused former President Nasheed and his family of masterminding many of these plans.
Saeed went on to ask the crowds gathered in Hulhumale to think about their fundamental rights: “Where were your rights during the 30 years of Maumoon’s presidency? Where were your rights during Nasheed’s two-and-half-years of presidency? And – they sold off this country. Is there anything more unjust?”
While Saeed claims that previous presidents were responsible for “selling the Maldives off,” the opposition, in a political tug-of-war, maintains that Yameen’s administration was responsible for taking away the Maldives’ sovereignty when it passed the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) bill in 2014.