Nasheed urges govt for dialogue with opposition

Self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed who withdrew from the upcoming presidential race has called on the government for dialogue with the opposition in order to ensure free and fair elections in the archipelago.

The opposition has now selected veteran opposition lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to lead the opposition alliance in the crunch elections after Nasheed forfeited his presidential ticket.

MDP during its extraordinary congress on Saturday amended its charter to award the party ticket to Solih after Nasheed pulled out of the September elections after the country's electoral watchdog rejected his candidacy citing his terrorism conviction.

Nasheed lives in self imposed exile most recently in Sri Lanka after he was allowed to leave to the UK on medical leave in an internationally brokered deal following his jailing on terrorism charges. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison over the arbitrary arrest and subsequent detention of a sitting judge while he was president.

The former president on Twitter stressed on the need for urgent reforms required to guarantee the people’s constitutional right to free and fair elections.

"Thus far,all evidence points to scheme by president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to steal the September elections," he alleged.

"I call upon Maldives govt to make necessary reforms to ensure election’s legitimacy and enter into talks with opposition."

Nasheed's call for dialogue came after the government officially congratulated the new opposition candidate and renewed the invitation for all party talks.

Nasheed's refusal to back-down earlier had threatened to destroy the once unimaginable alliance he had formed with former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and the other two opposition party leaders - Gasim Ibrahim and Sheikh Imran Abdulla.

But Nasheed's sudden withdrawal, has now united the once divided opposition and have finally agreed on nominating a single candidate for the upcoming presidential elections.

Hours after Nasheed's withdrawal, the four leaders in a joint statement said the opposition have now reached an agreement to join forces against incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

Gasim's Jumhoory Party (JP) along with Imran's religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) have already come out in support of Solih as the opposition alliance candidate for the elections.

According to the long awaited opposition agreement, the presidential candidate would be Solih while the running mate would be nominated by JP which it said would be announced soon.