Campaign trail: pleading in the rain
The final roundup of news from the campaign trail.
The final roundup of headlines made by the candidates, running mates and their surrogates on the campaign trail.
- Ibu returns to Malé after concluding final trip of the campaign! (Raajje)
- Ibu meets youth voting for first time (Vnews)
- Faisal thanks police for cooperation during campaign trips (Raajje)
- We won’t do wrong to President Yameen, but justice will reach him: Saud (Mihaaru)
- A vehicle rally in Addu with hundreds (Vnews)
- Addu City campaign ends with everyone holding hands (Raajje)
- Give what the atolls deserve without orders from Malé: Ali Nizar (Mihaaru)
- Vote Ibu to uphold power of the constitution: [jailed lawmaker] Ilham (Vnews)
- Make use of the opportunity for police to be free: [jailed ex-police chief] Areef (Avas)
- Former CP urges enforcement of the public’s decision without hesitation (Vnews)
- Areef appeals for police not to hesitate to enforce the public’s decision (Raajje)
- Appeal from former PG Muhthaz: vote for Ibu (VFP)
- Say no tyranny and injustice and vote Ibu-Faisal: Muhthaz (Vnews)
- [Jailed lawmaker] Faris’s appeal: Vote Ibu for national interest (Avas)
- Tyranny can be brought to an end by voting for Ibu: father of [jailed] former chief justice (Vnews)
- Group of students in Lanka support Ibu (Avas)
- Support of many students in Lanka for Ibu! (Raajje)
- A vote for Ibu is a vote to end intimidation of businessmen: Saudhulla (Vnews)
- There’s no reason the public should be compassionate and caring towards Yameen: Ameen (Vnews)
- The president’s remarks are what “munafiqs” [hypocrites] would say: Ali Waheed (Vnews)
Joint opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ‘Ibu’ returned to the capital after wrapping up his final campaign trip in Addu City. Back in Malé, he met first-time voters in a question and answer session.
Campaign activities took place throughout the country, including a vehicle rally in the southernmost atoll.
Jailed politicians and top officials such as the former police chief and prosecutor general released statements from prison endorsing Ibu as their family members made public appeals.
The opposition campaign is due to conclude with a parade Saturday afternoon. Polls open Sunday morning and campaigning will be illegal after 6pm Saturday.
- I wouldn’t have contested if I was connected to corruption: President Yameen (Mihaaru)
- I won’t contest if I am corrupt: president (PSM)
- I am not someone who easily accepts defeat: president (Avas)
- Sometimes I get angry with myself: President Yameen (Raajje)
- The nation will be developed with a large share by the youth: president (PSM)
- President pleads with public in the rain (Mihaaru)
- “Citizens, don’t do me wrong as those close to me did” (Avas)
- President’s plea: don’t do me wrong (VFP)
- President didn’t stop speaking in heavy rain! (Avas)
- When you harm someone you should know the law will reach you: president (VFP)
- Kulhudhuffushi airport terminal will be finished this year: President Yameen (Mihaaru)
- President opens Kulhudhuffushi airport and bottling plant (Avas)
- President opens a bottling plant and an airport that can’t be seen (VFP)
- First lady goes to Addu (Mihaaru)
- First lady arrives in Addu (PSM)
- There are no allegations that the president did anything against religion: Shaheem (Avas)
- If President Yameen isn’t elected, a patriotic person might not get the chance again: Dr Shaheem (PSM)
- Shaheem to Ilyas: can we get justice with those who insult religion? (Avas)
- It’s been exposed that Nasheed discussed to open a library in the Maldives with books on false religions (PSM)
- Maumoon was jealous of development, he wanted to bring Faris to power: Abdul Raheem (Mihaaru)
- It’s President Yameen who can save Maumoon: Adurey (Avas)
- Opposition won’t even get 32%: Nihan (VFP)
- Opposition has indirectly accepted defeat: PPM (Mihaaru)
- Only President Yameen can work for the nation’s progress: Alhan (PSM)
- The manifesto’s biggest aim is to ensure housing, it can be achieved: Muizz (PSM)
- Jamiyyathul Salaf calls to support President Yameen (PSM)
In an interview broadcast on state media Friday, President Abdulla Yameen declared that there was no other political leader who could match his “character or uncompromised integrity.” He was not in the “pockets of any businessman” and would not have asked to serve the Maldivian people if he was “enslaved” to a wealthy benefactor.
Yameen said he does not easily accept defeat. He thrives on challenges and was satisfied with accomplishments, which he listed as the Sinamalé Bridge, airport expansion, social housing, and solving Malé’s longstanding waste problem with an industrial village. The Maldives no longer bows to foreign pressure, he added.
“I wonder if people appreciate these things, whether they remember how things were five years ago.”
He made “many mistakes” by trusting former allies, Yameen said. “So there are lessons I have to learn in my official work.”
History would show his term was the most difficult for a Maldivian president, he continued, citing the September 2015 explosion on his speedboat that injured the first lady.
There was a lack of empathy from the public over the assassination attempt, he said. “I don’t want to talk about that to the public. That is because I don’t believe there is compassion among the public over such things.”
On Friday afternoon, the president flew to Kulhudhuffushi to inaugurate the island’s unfinished airport, which lacks a terminal building or air traffic control tower. The president said the prefab terminal would be complete by the end of the year. The island would become a northern economic hub with a 3,000-bed tourism development within three years, he pledged.
Heavy rain started pouring while Yameen was speaking at the open-air ceremony. But he carried on. Judges, lawmakers from his own party and family members tried to unlawfully remove him from office, Yameen said.
“They tried to stick a dagger in me. They tried to blast [the speedboat]. Citizens, don’t do that to me,” he appealed, reiterating that political opponents were jailed for committing crimes.
“Allah’s sympathy and blessing were with me. That is why I was able to come to Kulhudhuffushi to talk about this today. In two days is the vote to decide whether all of the public will do by me how the people I mentioned did.”
There was freedom to criticise the government but defamation could not be tolerated, Yameen said, declaring himself to be the most defamed individual in the country.
While he was trying to deliver development, the opposition was only talking about Western-style democracy, he said, alleging that the coalition was advocating to introduce anti-Islamic practices to the 100 percent Muslim Maldives.
On Friday night, the hardline religious group Jamiyyathul Salaf endorsed Yameen, accusing the opposition of trying to erase Islam from the country.
The president’s running mate Dr Mohamed Shaheem campaigned in the northern Noonu atoll as First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim travelled to the southernmost atoll for a final push in the opposition stronghold.