'Mighty' Maldives opposition alliance flatters to deceive

Self exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed was recently asked about the progress of the opposition alliance. "It's ongoing isn't it."

The ex-president's short response aptly epitomized the disappointment the once promising alliance had been reduced to.

When Maldives United Opposition was founded in London it looked rather intimidating, banding together the Maldivian Democratic Party, the Adhaalath Party, two of Yameen’s former deputies and his former defence minister.

Despite the misguided goal of the premature removal president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom from office "through legal means" and the far-fetched notion of an interim government leading up to the next presidential elections, the alliance boasting former political hard-hitters was expected to hand more than a few sleepless nights for their common enemy.

Even the announcing of a shadow cabinet did not seem over the top or overzealous after BBC quoted sources saying the opposition plans to move against the president “within weeks.”

According to the the British public service broadcaster, details of what was being planned was obscure but the even government has described it as a “formal attempt at ‘legally’ overthrowing the government”.

The report appeared to ruffle a few feathers sparking a series of arrest warrants, raids and revocation of several passports.

A few weeks later Nasheed's 'secret' visit to neighbouring Sri Lanka fueled further speculation of an 'imminent' overthrow.

That was in August. And that was as good it got for the alliance. An anti-government statement here, a tweet there -- the high was glamorous and propitious -- the fall however, could not muster even a whimper.

"I truly believe that MUO is achieving its objectives. A huge positive for us has been that former adversaries like Adhaalath Party and MDP are now working in tandem. We've been able to learn a lot about each other and discovered that despite past differences, a sustained partnership is now possible," Nasheed defended the alliance during a recent interview on opposition aligned Raajje TV.

With all due respect to the former president, the possible working relationship of the two parties was never the true purpose of the alliance. At least that was certainly not what was so spectacularly announced.

The intention was to put the government on the back foot. Force the burgeoning authority and alleged popularity of president Yameen on the defensive. Not the other way around.

The rather meek response speaks volumes about the present condition of the alliance.

The flailing alliance was seemingly handed a lifeline when the rift between president Yameen and his half brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom split the ruling party right down the middle. Many expected Nasheed and co to seize the opening, throw caution to the wind and fully exploit the feud especially after the elder Gayoom officially withdrew his support for his brother.

However, the window -- if there was one, now seems to have passed as president Yameen quickly quashed or reversed any defections that could potentially weaken his government.

MUO had recently announced plans for high level visit to regional giants India which it admitted was a bid to revive its floundering campaign.

With less than two years remaining until the next presidential elections, opposition supporters with the exception of the most ardent, would arguably perceive the latest move with skepticism, knowing that the once 'mighty' opposition alliance had truly flattered to deceive.