Joint Opposition Vows to Remain United and Oust President Yameen in 2018 Presidential Elections

2 November 2017, Male’: The Joint Opposition — comprising four political parties in the Maldives — has renewed its commitment to remain united for the 2018 presidential elections, in which the opposition has vowed to remove President Yameen from power. The parties also stated they will remain united until parliamentary elections in 2019.

Speaking at a joint party press conference yesterday, the MDP Chairperson, JP Deputy Leader, PPM deputy leader, and AP Parliamentary Leader, reiterated their commitment to the March 24 agreement. That agreement, signed by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, former President Mohamed Nasheed, Hon. Qasim Ibrahim MP, and Sheikh Imran Abdulla, agreed to work together to restore Maldivian democracy, ensure free and fair elections, and to protect Maldivians’ fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution.

Maldivians go to the polls in less than 11 months, with President Yameen facing a formidable challenge from the opposition coalition. The parties have vowed to oust President Yameen from power, following his repeated authoritarian crackdowns, subversion of the Constitution, corruption scandals, and links to organised crime.

At the press conference, the parties reaffirmed their demand that political parties — not President Yameen — must be the ones to choose who will represent them during the elections. President Yameen, working with cronies in the judiciary and Elections Commission, has barred almost all potential rivals from contesting in the elections.

Speaking at the press conference, MDP Chairperson Hassan Latheef said:

“MDP leader President Nasheed must be allowed to stand in the elections, and cannot remain disqualified through a politically motivated trial and sentencing. President Nasheed’s qualification would not be an obstruction to the Opposition fielding a single candidate for the elections.”

Deputy Leader of the JP, MP Abdulla Riyaz said:

“While continuing our efforts, we agree to discuss a way forward to work together in the 2018 Presidential and 2019 Parliamentary elections. We will be discussing the best possible options — that includes the option of a common candidate — to defeat President Yameen. The good news is that we will continue working together beyond 2018.”

At the press conference, Deputy Leader of PPM, Aminath Nadhira, and Adhaalath Party Parliamentary Leader, MP Anaara Naeem, also endorsed the commitment to achieve a common platform for 2018 and 2019.