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Campaign trail: true self and yellow kryptonite

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.

September 13

  • We will write off tsunami-related loans: Ibu (Mihaaru)
  • We will write off tsunami loans: Ibu (Raajje)
  • Government writes off tsunami loans (Vnews)
  • Tsunami loans were written off: Shainee (Mihaaru)
  • Many pledges from Ibu to Thoddoo (Avas)
  • We will give subsidies again to farmers: Ibu (Vnews)
  • In opposition government, PPM will be handed over to its “real” members: Ibu (Mihaaru)
  • We will give PPM back to President Maumoon: Ibu (Raajje)
  • Ibu’s pledge: PPM will be handed to Maumoon (Avas)
  • Warm welcome for Ibu from Maamigili (Vnews)
  • Many pledges from Ibu for Maamigili (Mihaaru)
  • Ibu will get the most votes from Maamigili: Gasim (Raajje)
  • We will increase income to MVR30 billion by adding 35,000 beds: Ibu (Vnews)
  • Islamic, cultural and medical tourism should be introduced: Ibu (Mihaaru)
  • Ibu reveals tourism policy with pledge of 30,000 beds (Raajje)
  • Coalition will get the biggest majority in Ari atoll: Ibu (Vnews)
  • Ibu will win, unrest is planned to prolong the term: Mariya (Raajje)
  • Mariya to police: reveal information about planned unrest (Avas)
  • The departure of a few people is no reason to change Adhaalath Party’s ideology: Ali Zahir (Raajje)
  • We won’t give anyone the chance to mangle the vote: Shahid (Mihaaru)
  • The value of Gasim’s services will not be erased: Nahula (Vnews)
  • Wadde to President Yameen: We don’t want to see your true self (Mihaaru)
  • This government has pulverized the education system: Shifa (Raajje)
  • The education system has been muddled: Shifa (Vnews)
  • Coalition leaders with Faisal to Malaysia! (Raajje)

Opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ‘Ibu’ began a tour of three central atolls. On Mathiveri island in Alif Alif atoll, he pledged to waive outstanding payments on loans issued for tsunami rebuilding. Shortly thereafter, the fisheries minister tweeted that the 452 loans have been written off. But the media reported that the debtors were unaware before the minister’s tweet.

Ibu went on to slam the president over his recent admissions of barring opponents from contesting and unseating lawmakers who defected from the ruling party.

On Thoddoo, Ibu pledged to return the leadership of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives to its founder Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The jailed former president was expelled from the PPM last year following a power struggle with his half-brother President Abdulla Yameen.

The PPM would also be represented in the coalition government, Ibu added.

At the main rally Thursday night on Maamigili, the native island of Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim, he pledged to introduce banking services, develop the school, build roads and upgrade the health centre to a hospital.

Outlining the coalition’s tourism policy, he pledged to facilitate credit for new guesthouses, reduce the cost of domestic air travel, and to introduce cultural, medical and Islamic tourism. The target is adding 35,000 beds without shrinking the market or reducing high-end prices, he said.

With the exponential growth of tourist arrivals, state revenue would reach MVR30 billion (US$2 billion), Ibu predicted, which would be enough to provide essential services to all 186 islands.

  • PPM holding a water sports festival open to the public (PSM)
  • Opposition coalition is in a quarrel, they’re unable to agree on dividing up ministries in a coalition government: Minister Saeed (PSM)
  • Maldives is becoming a nation that can stand on its own two feet: economic minister (PSM)
  • First lady to campaign in Meemu atoll! (Avas)
  • President arrives in Addu City Hulhumeedhoo (PSM)
  • Warm welcome to president from soaked and drenched people of Addu  (Avas)
  • President opens Hulhudhoo flats without electricity and sewage (Addu Live)
  • President Yameen discomforted by a yellow flower, the flower is thrown away (Raajje)
  • President Yameen angered after seeing a yellow flower during Hulhumeedhoo rally (Addu Live)
  • Hithadhoo and Meedhoo will also be connected with a bridge: president (Mihaaru)
  • Meedhoo and Hithadhoo will be connected via bridge: president (Avas)
  • Completion marked of four projects in Hithadhoo (PSM)
  • President Yameen marks completion of unfinished projects in Addu City (Raajje)
  • I will show my real self after winning the election: President Yameen (Mihaaru)
  • My real self will be seen after the election: president (Avas)
  • You will see my real self after the election: President Yameen (Raajje)
  • The biggest expenditure apart from Malé was for Addu: President Yameen (Mihaaru)
  • Malé alone was developed previously, now we’re developing the Maldives: president (VFP)
  • I am no longer hesitant despite slaughter of my reputation: president (Avas)
  • President Yameen talks of IT park after four years and seven months! (Addu Live)
  • ICT will be made a compulsory subject included in the national curriculum: president (PSM)
  • ICT will be made compulsory in national curriculum: president (Mihaaru)
  • ICT a compulsory subject, a new education pledge from the president (Avas)
  • Opposition education policy is 50 years behind: president (VFP)
  • Even if PPM is given to Maumoon, ordinary members won’t remain: president (Avas)
  • Adhaalath is a party that works for self-interest: Muizz (Mihaaru)
  • It was this government that made the projects people of Addu wanted a reality: Thoriq (PSM)
  • PPM is run by its real leaders: Abdul Raheem (Mihaaru)
  • Adurey to Ibu: PPM is run by the real leaders (Avas)

Kicking off his tour of the two southernmost atolls, President Yameen pledged to connect all the inhabited islands of Addu City via a bridge. On Hulhudhoomeedhoo, he pledged to build an Islamic centre, protect the Meedhoo shoreline from erosion, and to make government services such as vehicle fee-paying paying available on the island.

The present criteria of according city status would be reviewed and changed to a geographical basis, he continued. The island of Hulhudhoo-Meedhoo is administratively considered two wards of Addu City but lies apart from the Maradhoo, Feydhoo and Hithadhoo islands, which are interconnected via causeways.

The president’s displeasure over a yellow flower during the Hulhumeedhoo rally drew attention with videos widely shared on social media. Yellow is the colour of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party. The viral video shows the PPM deputy leader throw away the flower when the president removed it from a bouquet on a small table in front of him.

Yameen also made waves with remarks about showing his true self or appearance after the election.

“Because I talk powerfully on podiums, some people say, ‘show President Yameen’s real human self.’ My real self is I am a president who is travelling peaceably today with 400,000 Maldivians to a shore of development.”

Human self and compassion comes after delivering what the public wants, he added.

“I can only sleep after that, too. That is how it happened on February 1,” he said, referring to a Supreme Court order for the release of his jailed opponents. Yameen reacted to the shock ruling by declaring a state of emergency and arresting the chief justice.

“So the public won’t see my real self until my work is done as the public wishes and God willing after I win in the vote on this September 23,” he said.

“But my real self is that I am a human. I am the husband of a wife. I am the father of children. I am someone who works with the people.”

Execution of the Supreme Court order would have “devastated” the nation and triggered bloodshed and violence between government and opposition supporters, he claimed.

The president went on to attack former ministers of the 30-year Gayoom administration who are now campaigning for the opposition. The group of “old people” have no empathy for the public but were pursuing self-interest, he contended.

Speaking at a rally Thursday night on Hithadhoo, he said government spending for Addu increased fivefold to MVR2.2 billion (US$143 million) during the past five years. If the public were to vote for development, he is the only choice on the ballot, Yameen said.

Information and communication technology would be introduced as a new compulsory subject, he announced.

“We want the coming generation to be sharp and intelligent children. That is not just a right of Silicon Valley. Maldivians, too, can do it.”