Nasheed pushes for candidacy but won't boycott pres polls

Self exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed on Monday expressed hope that the international community would ensure his candidacy, but insisted that the opposition would not boycott the upcoming presidential elections even if he is not allowed to contest.

Nasheed was jailed on terrorism charges over the arbitrary arrest and subsequent detention of a sitting judge while he was president.

Nasheed who now lives in self imposed exile in the UK after he was allowed to leave to Britain on medical leave in an internationally brokered deal, has frequently used Colombo as his hub to meet party officials and host media briefings.

Nasheed revealed during the press conference that he had in October 2016 submitted a complaint to the UN body under the optional protocol on International Convention of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

"I argued that the government has violated several ICCPR articles including right to political participation and hope that judgement in March and therefore the UN would have spoken. I hope that the UN would rule that I must be allowed to contest," Nasheed explained.

"If i can contest I will contest. But if president Yameen refuses to abide by the UN ruling, clearly the elections would be a farce, unfree, unfair, uninclusive and illegitimate."

However, Nasheed was quick to insist that although president Yameen has either jailed or forced every one of his rivals into exile the now joint opposition would not make it easy for president Yameen.

"If president Yameen intends to hold an illegal elections then we won't make it easy for him. We won't boycott these elections. Come what may. We will take part in them," Nasheed stressed.

Nasheed had inked a historic agreement with former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim and religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla to work together against president Yameen.

With the quartet ruled out of the elections either by the presidential age cap or a criminal sentence, the alliance has remained engaged in discussions to field a common candidate to challenge president Yameen's re-election hopes.

"I enjoy frequent discussions with former president Gayoom, Gasim and Imran and we are all in agreement that we won't boycott these elections. We are also in principle agreement that we will field a single candidate. We will not make life easy for president Yameen," he stressed.

"President Yameen wants a coronation, not an election. But we won't let that happen. And if he thinks he's going to steal this elections from the Maldivian people and have an easy ride he is very mistaken."