Parliament Speaker and former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, has said neither himself nor former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Qayyoom should contest the upcoming presidential election.
Speaking at the newly formed political party, The Democrats' inaugural congress held Wednesday night, Nasheed emphasized that it is in the best interest of the country's people for both himself and Yameen to abstain from contesting the September election. He urged the opposing Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) to heed his advice.
Nasheed praised President Yameen's dedicated service to the nation. He acknowledged Yameen's previous roles as the country's president, a member of Parliament, a cabinet minister, and the head of the Macchangolhi office. Although now incarcerated, he does not wish to see a man of Yameen's stature behind bars, said Nasheed.
"I believe that neither of us should participate in the election. Instead, we should unite and strive together to fulfill the aspirations of the Maldivian people," stated Nasheed.
Nasheed also shared the results of the opinion polls, though he did not disclose his methodology. He said President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih received 15 percent of the vote, President Yameen garnered 18 percent of the vote although in jail, and he himself currently held six percent of the vote. He said 55 percent of the population remains undecided regarding their voting preferences for the upcoming elections.
Nasheed emphasized that the people desire collaboration to defeat President Solih, emphasizing that it is the responsibility of those involved in politics to explore avenues that benefit the people. He called for discussions, negotiations, and compromises at the same table to discover effective ways to achieve this common objective.
While Yameen remains ineligible to contest the presidential election due to his 11-year prison sentence and can only contest the election if a higher court overturns the sentence, the PPM continues to assert that Yameen is their presidential candidate and urges other parties to form a coalition with the PPM.