President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has stated that he faced many constraints from external bodies for barring former President Mohamed Nasheed from contesting in the upcoming presidential elections.
Speaking at a ceremony in Milandhoo during his official visit to islands of Shaviyani Atoll, the president stated that although external bodies have been pressuring him into allowing the former president to contest, it is impractical for the president to do so as the Constitution renders Nasheed ineligible to run for presidency.
President Yameen revealed that upon the request of Nasheed, he had requested the court to fast-track Nasheed’s trial in order for the former president to complete his sentence and contest in the presidential elections. However, the Supreme Court had upheld the lower court’s verdict and sentenced Nasheed to 13 years of jail time over terrorism charges.
President Yameen further noted that court verdicts are not influenced by the president, and corroborated his statement by highlighting the landmark ruling on February 1 by the Supreme Court.
Supreme Court had in an unprecedented ruling ordered to free nine high-profile political prisoners on February 1. President Yameen had consequently declared a state of emergency and arrested Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and Judge Ali Hameed over bribing officials of the state, and conspiring to overthrow the government via the top court ruling.
President Yameen had reasoned that the now former top court justices were arrested for failing to explain why the court had issued its ruling against the Constitution.
The president also noted that actions by former President Nasheed was a reflection on all members and lawmakers of the opposition. He added that the high profile members of the opposition party must voice their disagreement to poorly judged decisions by the opposition, and seek the counsel of lawmakers and ministers when making key decisions in the party.
However, President Yameen had earlier sent an official letter to Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s parliamentary group leader, Ibrahim "Ibu" Mohamed Solih, congratulating him on his nomination as the opposition alliance's presidential candidate, and expressing hopes that MDP's decision would allow peace to be restored in the nation.
He further revealed that religious offence will be taken seriously during his administration, adding that penalties will be enforced in strict manners for such offences.
President Yameen further assured the public that developments by the current administration are incomparable. The president noted that the government had spent over MVR 222 million on development projects in Milandhoo island alone.