Maldives opposition shares unity govt paper with leaders

Maldives' united opposition has drafted and shared a paper on a unity government with the opposition leaders, chief opposition lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih announced Tuesday.

The main opposition leaders including former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed along with Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim and religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla inked pact to form what they called a 'reform alliance'.

With the candidacy of the four leaders - all convicted and serving sentences on questionable charges in serious doubt, the united opposition had announced plans to nominate a single candidate for the upcoming presidential elections.

The parties had appointed representatives for the crunch discussions in January and had put forward their respective terms for a single candidate.

However, the talks were put-off after the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including Nasheed which plunged the country into fresh political turmoil.

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on February 5 had declared a state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed, purged the Supreme Court by arresting two judges and the remaining political leaders and ultimately had the order revoked.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, the Hinnavaru lawmaker insisted that the opposition would field a single candidate against president Yameen and said the opposition had now constituted a special committee dubbed the '1819 committee' to finalize plans ahead of the crucial polls.

Solih said the opposition had drafted a paper outlining the basics of a unity government which had now been shared with the opposition leaders.

He added that details of the paper would be shared with the public "very soon".

Despite preparations, Solih raised serious concerns of a free and fair elections which he explained was why the opposition was trying to change the government before the elections.

The most high-profile figures remanded until the end of the trial included Gayoom, chief justice Abdulla Saeed and top court judge Ali Hameed - all now formally charged with terrorism over the alleged plot to overthrow the government.

Prosecutors have also formally charged four opposition lawmakers over the alleged coup plot.

Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon, Jumhoory Party (JP) deputy leader Abdulla Riyaz, Dhangethi lawmaker Ilham Ahmed and South-Machchangoalhi lawmaker Abdulla Sinan have all been charged with terrorism for conspiring to overthrow the government.