Deputy speaker pledges support for pres Yameen's re-election

Former main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) chairperson and deputy speaker Moosa Manik on Thursday attending a ruling party rally for the first time, pledged his support for incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's re-election in 2018 saying that it was necessary to maintain the speed of development.

Manik had fallen out with MDP and was subsequently dismissed from the party for breaking a party whip line during a parliamentary vote. The outspoken lawmaker has since continued to heavily criticize the MDP leadership and openly supported president Yameen's development policy especially in parliament.

The Hulhu-henveiru lawmaker speaking during a ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) rally ahead of the local council elections, said despite past differences he had always worked for the development of the country.

Manik said no citizen can refute the unprecedented development orchestrated by president Yameen in the past four years.

"I keep hearing that no politician is behind president Yameen. But there's no way that I cannot be classified as a politician. We are here [with Yameen]. I don't think there is one group who can claim to be better politicians. I will be there with president Yameen in 2018 if he ensures progress and development," Moosa who himself has earlier announced his intentions to stand for elections in 2018 stressed.

As the Maldives heads to vote on Saturday, Moosa urged the public to forget party colour and vote for development and progress.