Nasheed briefs diplomats in Sri Lanka; ready to field common candidate

Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed is in Sri Lanka where he briefed diplomats on the Presidential elections in the Maldives scheduled for this year and his intention to back a common opposition Presidential candidate in the event he is prevented from contesting.

Speaking to journalists in Colombo today, Nasheed said that a coalition of opposition parties are discussing the possibility of fielding a common opposition Presidential candidate if the Maldives Government prevents him from contesting the 2018 Presidential elections.

Maldives Attorney General Mohamed Anil had said last month that Nasheed will not be able to contest the election later this year as he has been convicted for a crime and is wanted in the Maldives to serve a jail sentence.

Nasheed however said that preventing him from contesting the elections will be unconstitutional and he will seek UN support to ensure he is allowed to contest.

“If I can contest I will. If I am not allowed it will be seen as unconstitutional,” he said.

He said that while the opposition is prepared to put forward a joint opposition candidate, no names have been mention but only the process is being discussed.

Nasheed also dismissed the assumption that he is against foreign investments in the Maldives.

He told the Colombo Gazette on the sidelines of the press conference, which was also attended by some western diplomats, that his concern is over the manner in which the Maldives Government is signing agreements with some countries.

Nasheed said that he welcomes investments, even from China, but wants to ensure the due process is followed.

“I am not against Chinese investments. Don’t get me wrong. But you see how some of these agreements are being done,” he told the Colombo Gazette.

Nasheed also raised concerns over extremism in the Maldives and the threat it could pose to South Asia. (Colombo Gazette)

Report by Easwaran Rutnam

Pictures by Lalith Perera