The government and ruling party has hit back at former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom after he suggested a change of power was needed before this year’s election.
Gayoom made the remarks at an opposition gathering and called for immediate reforms, saying “there is no need to wait for a particular time”.
“Why should we wait? We are not sure the election will be held. We are not sure how the results are going to turn out. We do not know the things that will be involved in it [election]. So there is no need to talk about an election,” he was quoted as saying by local media.
The comments provoked government ministers and figures from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) to criticise the ex-leader, who was in power for three decades.
Abdul Raheem Abdulla, the PPM’s deputy leader, said there were questions about the legality of calling to overthrow a government before an election.
“A public call to overthrow an elected government must be investigated. This is not a joke,” he tweeted. “The hidden agenda of leaders who claim to work in the interest of the country and the people is being revealed,” he added.
Ahmed Nihan, the PPM’s parliamentary group leader, said the “opposition cocktail coalition” lacked anyone with the qualification and experience to overthrow a government.
Defence Minister Adam Shareef warned that legal measures would be taken against those who attempt to overthrow the government.
“We will not give the opportunity to disturb the peace in the country,” he told state broadcaster PSM.