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Campaign trail: income tax and interim rule

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.

August 20

  • President Yameen will get full support from Thinadhoo and Fuvahmulah: Dr Shaheem (PSM)
  • People value the projects, we will get votes: Shaheem (Mihaaru)
  • Shaheem after trip: support for President Yameen is huge (Avas)
  • Don’t worry, raising retirement age would be a happy change: government (Mihaaru)
  • Waste management system with incinerator to be established in Ihavandhoo (PSM)
  • Kulhudhuffushi row houses handed over after six years (Avas)
  • Crumbling Kulhudhuffushi row houses handed over with president due to arrive (Raajje)

Upon his return to Malé after campaigning in the south, running mate Dr Mohamed Shaheem told reporters that he expected President Abdulla Yameen to win with “a comfortable majority” as the public was grateful for infrastructure projects, such as sewerage in Fuvahmulah and housing, harbour and land reclamation in Thinadhoo.

Finance Minister Ahmed Munawar sought to assuage concerns over a pledge to raise the retirement age to 74 years, explaining that the aim is to offer the option to work beyond 65 for those who are presently forced into retirement. Elderly workers would be eligible for the MVR5,000 (US$324) a month old age allowance, he assured.

On state media, Environment Minister Thoriq Ibrahim pledged a waste management centre with incinerators for Ihavandhoo island if the president is re-elected for a second term. It comes after the housing minister pledged to reclaim land on the crowded northern island to award plots for new homes.

On Kulhudhuffushi, the housing ministry handed over keys to 58 row houses built during the Maldivian Democratic Party government six years ago.

  • Faisal cries with joy after warm welcome from native island (Raajje)
  • Faisal teary-eyed upon seeing support from native island (Avas)
  • Welcome from island makes Faisal teary-eyed (Mihaaru)
  • Faisal’s vow: We won’t be corrupt, we will establish justice (Vnews)
  • We will take income tax: Ibu (Mihaaru)
  • Ibu pledges to take income tax (Avas)
  • We will provide legal protection for whistleblowers: Ibu (Mihaaru)
  • Coalition will have big majority when Majlis starts after election: Ibu (Raajje)
  • Ibu didn’t give clear answer to question about term! (Sun)
  • Ibu didn’t give clear answer about five-year term (Avas)

Faisal Naseem was overcome with emotion after a jubilant welcome on his birth island. The opposition running mate travelled to Fuvahmulah for the Eid holiday. Speaking in the southern dialect to a large crowd of supporters, Faisal said the main reason to vote for the opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ‘Ibu’ was his unblemished reputation and unquestioned integrity.

Back in the capital, Ibu met the press and announced the coalition’s pledges to introduce a progressive income tax and a whistleblower protection law. He noted the jailing of a former Bank of Maldives manager who leaked documents exposing how millions of dollars of stolen public funds were funnelled through the national bank.

Along with his running mate, Ibu said the pair has so far visited 100 out of 186 inhabited islands in the country, reaching 134,733 people or half the voting age population. The candidates hope to visit all islands before the September 23 polling day, he added.

Ibu refused to be drawn on questions over the MDP manifesto pledge for an interim government that would pursue transitional justice and constitutional reforms. The issue has divided opinion among coalition partners and drawn fire from the ruling party, which has sought to label Ibu as a caretaker ruler who would make way for former president Mohamed Nasheed.

Asked repeatedly whether he would step down half-way through the five-year term, the veteran lawmaker said the opposition’s proposal would be revealed in the finalised coalition manifesto to be made public in two days. The coalition would propose amendments to the constitution to strengthen the system of government, Ibu said, noting that it would have to be passed by a three-quarters majority of parliament. The presidential term limit could only be changed if approved in a public referendum, he stressed.