Gayoom’s daughter lauds Nasheed for quitting Maldivian Presidential race

MALDIVES (The Island/ ANN ) - Former Maldives Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon said yesterday that a recent remark by her, about Maldivian Democratic Party leader Mohammed Nasheed on social media, had been misunderstood to mean that he was retiring from politics.

Dunya who was the eldest daughter of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, told "The Island" she had never meant to insinuate that the 51-year old Nasheed, was leaving politics, after the Elections Commissioner had deemed him ineligible to contest the September Presidential Election.

"I believe it is a mature and wise decision for former President Nasheed to step back from the Presidential race and support the common candidate Ibrahim Mohammed Solih", she noted adding that it was an example that other party leaders could take, to give an opportunity for new blood.

Dunya said that it was her hope to see a President who would move beyond the cycle of vengeance and unite Maldivians regardless of party lines . "We need to give hope to our young people and youth that, there is a genuine will to address the very major issues that a young democracy such as ours is facing."

With Nasheed announcing that he was quitting the Presidential race, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) at a special Congress held at Ukuhlas Island on the 30th of last month, elected its Parliamentary Group Leader Ibrahim Mohammed Solih as alternative Presidential candidate.

Solih would be the Common Candidate of the Joint Opposition, which includes the Jumhoree Party (JP) led by business tycoon Qasim Ibrahim , breakaway faction of the Progressive Party of Maldives(PPM) headed by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, former President and half brother of current President Abdulla Yameen and the Adhaalath Party led by Sheik Imran.

Discussions are on to elect a Common Vice Presidential candidate from the JP .

A senior MDP member said that Nasheed’s decision was based on fears that their party would be left without a Presidential candidate , as the Yameen government had refused to permit Nasheed to contest the September Poll, on the grounds that he was serving a 13-year prison sentence.

Nasheed , in a twitter message said " In the light of the fact that the Elections Commissioner has written to the MDP saying that I can’t contest in the upcoming Presidential Election, I have decided to relinquish my ticket. The EC’s decision is illegal and they must be sanctioned."

However the MDP emphasised that it was still pushing for Nasheed to be accepted as their Presidential candidate and if the situation changed when nominations opened this month , Nasheed and not Solih would contest the Presidential Poll .

The Elections Commissioner said that Nasheed was ineligible to be a candidate , since he had been convicted by the Criminal Court on a charge of admitting to abducting a judge while he was in power and sentenced to 13-years in prison, on March 13, 2015.

The MDP maintains that the judgment was illegal ,as the trial was not conducted in a fair manner.

After serving about ten months of his prison term , Nasheed was permitted to travel to the United Kingdom for medical treatment on January 18 , 2016 . While there he obtained political asylum. Nasheed has spent the last few months in Sri Lanka, drumming up support for his candidature, which culminated in the MDP nominating him as their Presidential candidate at the party primary held on May 30.

Qasim Ibrahim, is serving a prison sentence of three years and two months , after being convicted by the Criminal court on August 24 , 2017 for attempting to bribe law makers to support a No-Confidence Motion against the former Speaker .Qasim has accused the Abdulla Yameen government of political vengeance.

He was also given leave from prison to seek medical treatment abroad on September 6 , 2017, but did not return to the Maldives.Qasim now lives in exile in Germany.

On the 13th of last month the Criminal Court sentenced Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed to 19 months in prison, on a charge of obstructing justice.

Gayoom’s son Faris Maumoon MP, was sentenced to four months and 24 days in prison on June 27, after being convicted of identity fraud , for having used the flag and logo of PPM, following his purported removal from the party.