Detained former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb has pledged support to the opposition just days after his predecessor, Vice President Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, formally joined the opposition coalition.
In a statement issued hours before President Abdulla Yameen was due to deliver the annual presidential address at the parliament’s opening, the former vice president said he called “on every Maldivian to personally join in the effort to end tyranny.”
“I support President Mohamed Nasheed and his Maldivian Democratic Party’s efforts to establish political stability and justice in the Maldives. I assure president Nasheed and the Maldivian people that I will remain committed in my work,” Adeeb said in a statement issued through his lawyers.
Adeeb is currently on trial for corruption and terrorism. His spectacular fall from favour came after a blast on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat last September.
The government insists the blast was caused by a bomb targeting the president, despite contradicting findings from international forensic experts. Adeeb claims the blast was staged to frame him.
Adeeb, a former influential tourism minister, assumed the vice presidency weeks after the People’s Majlis impeached his predecessor Jameel. The parliament had amended the constitution to set new age limits so that the 33-year-old would be eligible for the post.
Since the blast, Yameen has purged several of Adeeb’s associates from the government and the security forces. He went on to publicly accuse Adeeb of bribing the security forces, and ordered an investigation into the state-owned tourism promotion firm Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation’s use of funds obtained from resort leases.
The ensuing scandal has embroiled several ministers and MPs.
The government has denied allegations of wrongdoing.
Adeeb said: “I have no doubt that work by MDP and president Nasheed will lead Maldives to a safe haven.
“After assuming power by coercing the public with promises of a democratic rule the government has backtracked on its promise and is arresting all political opponents while undermining our young democracy.
“Maldivians will not back the government’s autocracy and I believe staying silent without working to end this tyranny is not an option.”
Adeeb’s associates had previously pledged support for a mass opposition rally on November 27. However, only one or two of his supporters were seen at the three-day rally.
The MDP national council on Monday voted to ally with Jameel and his associates. It is planning a rally against corruption this weekend.
The opposition coalition now formally consists of MDP, the religious conservative Adhaalath Party, and some members of the Jumhooree Party.