Campaign trail: dollar wreath and mosque campaign
Daily roundup of news from the campaign trail.
A daily roundup of headlines made by the candidates, running mates and their surrogates on the campaign trail.
- Airport is being developed at the lowest cost: Saeed (Mihaaru)
- People who sold the airport cannot criticise development: Saeed (PSM)
- Warm welcome for first lady in Baa Eydhafushi (PSM)
- MDP councillors in the front to welcome madam in Baa Hithaadhoo (Sun)
- MDP councillors invited to join President Yameen’s development work (PSM)
- Warm welcome for Dr Shaheem in Thinadhoo (PSM)
- Shaheem in Thinadhoo, this is a special island (Mihaaru)
- No opponents, I will meet everyone in Thinadhoo: Shaheem (Avas)
- Criticism for using Islamic centre as campaign hall (VFP)
- Political activity at Islamic centre, Iyaz characterised it as an insult (VFP)
- Opposition still hasn’t let go of policy of selling country’s assets: Abdul Raheem (PSM)
- Can taste victory even now: Azleen (Sun)
Hitting back at the opposition’s criticism of inflated costs, Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed said the US$1 billion airport expansion was based on feasibility studies conducted by top consultants. He accused the opposition of calling for a tourism boycott and lobbying in European capitals for sanctions.
Contrary to a former minister’s claim, Saeed said a Japanese company proposed building only the terminal for more than US$600 million at an interest rate higher than six percent. He repeated the falsehood that the Maldivian Democratic Party government “sold off” the airport to Indian developer GMR.
Saeed, who is accompanying First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim during her tour of the north-central Baa atoll, asked the MDP councillors of Hithaadhoo island to re-elect President Abdulla Yameen to ensure critical infrastructure.
Over in the south, running mate Dr Mohamed Shaheem was welcomed to Thinadhoo island by Vice President Abdulla Jihad, who hails from the southern population hub. Addressing a large crowd of supporters, Shaheem said the newly-built Islamic centre was the main symbol of many infrastructure projects undertaken by the Yameen administration.
Shaheem drew criticism from former colleagues in the religious conservative Adhaalath Party over a photo on the steps of the mosque with male and female supporters.
- Ibu welcomed on Maafushi with dollars! (VFP)
- We aren’t making fantasy pledges: Ibu (Mihaaru)
- Maafushi will be among first islands where land is reclaimed in our government: Ibu (Raajje)
- We can see the Jazeera development we want in Maafushi: Ibu (Mihaaru)
- Maafushi is an example of Jazeera development: Ibu (Vnews)
- We will give green tax revenue to council: Ibu (Avas)
- We will cut tariff on oil, reduce prices: Ibu (Mihaaru)
- Should stay near ballot boxes until voting results are announced: Ibu (Sun)
- What the public want most is justice: Faisal (Mihaaru)
- We won’t waste public funds: Faisal (Avas)
- 85 percent of people wish for a change: Faisal (Mihaaru)
- Himadhoo people will have the ease of a harbour: Faisal (Raajje)
- We will work out Hajj pilgrimage price: Faisal (Mihaaru)
- We won’t jail anyone unjustly: Faisal (Mihaaru)
- Islands will be depopulated in a Yameen second term: Ameen (Mihaaru)
- Waste will be eliminated in a blue economy, we will find sources of income even in waste: Hassan Latheef (Raajje)
In the last stop of his Kaafu atoll tour, opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ‘Ibu’ visited Maafushi, an island hailed by the World Bank for pioneering guesthouse tourism during the MDP government. The coalition’s vision of Jazeera (island) development is exemplified in Maafushi, Ibu said, in contrast to consolidating the entire population in the overcrowded capital.
He pledged to reclaim land in Maafushi to award plots of land for islanders in need of homes and to empower island councils with financial autonomy. Councils would collect land rent and decide how to develop the island, he pledged.
Green tax revenue would be ring-fenced and a portion allocated to councils for environmental protection, he said, noting the lack of waste management on an island with 52 guesthouses.
He also pledged to increase the US$3 million tourism promotion budget threefold with a portion earmarked for guesthouse and safari marketing.
The 10 percent import duty on oil would be reversed to reduce electricity costs, he pledged.
Ibu defended the growing list of pledges as doable. The coalition manifesto will include details such as sources of funding, he said.
Running mate Faisal Naseem meanwhile campaigned in the neighbouring Alif Alif atoll, making numerous pledges and railing against corruption and injustice.