Campaign trail: make peace not war
The Saturday roundup of news from the campaign trail.
The Saturday roundup of headlines made by the candidates, running mates and their surrogates before campaigning closed at 6pm.
The next government will be a people’s government, do not waste this opportunity: Ibu (Mihaaru)
MDP supporters arrested for allegedly ‘selling’ ID card (Mihaaru)
Shaheem said Colonel Nazim was framed: Sheikh Ilyas (Raajje TV)
Many taxi drivers ride on bridge in support for Ibu (Raajje TV)
Queues formed in some islands to vote in presidential election (Raajje TV)
Mariya requests calmness even if violence is encouraged (VFP)
Opposition requests voting queues to be made after dawn prayers (VFP)
Two parties’ big march today evening in Malé (Avas)
Two days in queue to vote (Mihaaru)
We campaigned in difficulty, will win by a big margin: opposition coalition (Mihaaru)
Ibu meets surfing community (Raajje TV)
Faisal calls not to allow any violence (Vnews)
Joint opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ‘Ibu’ delivered his final message on Saturday after leading a march in the capital.
“By God’s will, this country will next have a government that will listen to the people closely,” he said in a speech that summed up key pledges from the opposition coalition.
The wife of jailed ex-president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Nasreena Ibrahim, also had a message for Maldivians. She released an audio message, urging people to vote for the opposition.
“They are saying President Maumoon will be moved back home as soon as Yameen is re-elected. We do not believe their words. We don’t want just Gayoom to be transferred home. We want all those in jail to be freed. We want to free this country from fear.”
Ibu’s running mate Faisal Naseem appeared on VTV and urged people to avoid anything that might lead to unrest on Sunday, one of several opposition voices calling for calm.
MDP vice president Mohamed Shifaz expressed concern over reports that some groups were trying to create violence during voting, and Ibu’s spokeswoman Mariya Ahmed Didi urged supporters to start queuing up after dawn prayer Sunday. She also appealed to people not to do anything that might cause trouble.
“Even if a group tries to disrupt peace, we will just remain calmly and orderly. We will contact the authorities to solve any issues,” she said at her daily press briefing.
Sheikh Ilyas Hussain, from the opposition Adhaalath party, criticised President Abdulla Yameen’s running mate Dr Mohamed Shaheem after his passport was held by immigration.
Shaheem had previously talked about the brutality of the current government, Ilyas told reporters. He asked why Shaheem was now backing the government.
On Saturday afternoon, taxi drivers took part in an event over Sinamalé bridge in a show of support for Ibu and drivers said they can only “find freedom through voting for candidate number 2” in the election.
People in some islands started queuing up to vote as early as Friday. MDP supporters formed lines in Haa Dhaal Makunudhoo and Dhaal Kudahuvadhoo, while PPM supporters were waiting in Lhaviyani Naifaru.
There is no reason to stop development: President Yameen (Mihaaru)
Do not have any secrets to tell to Sheikh Ilyas: Shaheem (VFP)
Sudden promotion for 183 Kooddoo employees (Mihaaru)
No personal interest, please give a vote: Shaheem (Mihaaru)
My husband brought 50 years of development: First lady Faathun (Avas)
Students discipline worsened during MDP government: Dr Ziyad (PSM)
Biggest abuse is slaying people’s image: Dr Shaheem (PSM)
The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives running mate Shaheem led hundreds of supporters during a vehicle ride in Male’ as part of the final campaign event.
Supporters dressed in the party’s pink colour, wearing caps and waving flags, rode motorbikes, pickups and lorries to a stage where Yameen was waiting with first lady Fathimath Ibrahim.
Yameen said there was no need to stop the development that had happened over the past five years and criticised the MDP by saying he does not want to get encouragement from priests.
At the daily PPM press briefing Shaheem hit back at Sheikh Ilyas for making “low” comments to achieve a political purpose.
“I am very sad because a person such as Ilyas is doing these things. Religious scholars should be very responsible people. They should be people that follow the laws and rules within a state. No one should consider themselves to be above the law,” he said.
He urged supporters to vote for Yameen because the PPM works in the best interest of the country to bring peace and stability.
“If the result is not in favour of Yameen, I believe that the Maldives will fall into chaos,” he said, calling on people not to listen to baseless accusations.
In a special interview with Public Service Media, first lady Fathimath described Yameen as an individual who loved the country very much.
“He is a very capable individual who can achieve many things. This is why the people must for President Yameen,” she said, adding he had brought 50 years of development in five years.