Soldiers ready to give up voting right, insists minister

The military is firmly behind the government proposed move to bar soldiers from voting in elections, defence minister Adam Shareef Umar insisted Tuesday.

Speaking during a military ceremony on Tuesday, Shareef said each individual soldier was entrusted with the national duty of protecting the country and strengthen the role of the military.

Continuing on that regard, the minister said the announcement of the proposed move was welcomed by the entire military.

"Soldiers work tirelessly to strengthen the military. Soldiers put the country above their families and everything else. We can always count on the military's support for every step taken for the benefit of the country," minister explained.

"The biggest point for me was when top military officers welcomed our announcement."

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) had come out in support of the proposed move to bar soldiers from voting in elections insisting that the military must remain free of political influence.

PPM parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik said that the government was trying to increase the amenities provided to the military by increasing welfare, building flats to house soldiers and police officers.

He noted that the government in power would benefit from allowing the military to vote, but stated that taking away soldier's right to vote, Maldives would set an example to the rest of the world as a country unwilling to take undue advantage of its military.