Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has vowed to uphold the Maldives constitution after the opposition leader spoke of an alliance between the pair to oust the country’s current leader, Abdulla Yameen.
Mohamed Nasheed, who ended Gayoom’s 30 year rule in 2008, told the Indian Express of a new partnership with his rival to oust Yameen, half-brother to the 78-year-old former president.
“We have always understood democracy to be the best path of development and a better life. We’ve always advocated that, and when we see Gayoom on the same page as us, it would be very foolhardy of us to turn around and go,” he said Monday.
The Progressive Party of the Maldives responded in a brief statement: “The president of the PPM, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, will always act according to the constitution, and would like to assure his beloved supporters that he will not act in any manner that may contravene the constitution.”
Officials declined to elaborate further when asked for comment.
Earlier in the day, Gayoom had urged respect for the constitution in a Twitter post.
I call on everyone, government, state institutions, political parties and all Maldivians to work within the Constitution.
— Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (@maumoonagayoom) September 6, 2016
Gayoom had split with Yameen publicly in July, after accusing ruling-party lawmakers of facilitating corruption and reversing democratic gains he had overseen.
Nasheed’s claim of a new alliance came as he left Sri Lanka for the United Kingdom, where he has been granted political refugee status. Nasheed’s arrival in Colombo on August 24 had triggered speculation of a plot to remove Yameen.
The Maldives United Opposition, a broad coalition of opposition parties and former senior government officials, had vowed to arrest Yameen on corruption charges. Nasheed’s departure appears to put the plan on hold, the Indian Express said.
The opposition leader told the New-Delhi based paper that impeaching Yameen remains a “tall order” because it requires approval of two-thirds of the parliament, where PPM holds a simple majority.
Nasheed declined to reveal details of the opposition plans to remove Yameen, but said he believed a unity government – one that included Gayoom – was possible.
“How exactly this will be triggered, the modalities of how exactly we will migrate to a transitional government, are under discussion, but we will not want to depart from peaceful politics. We don’t have violent political coups in the Maldives.”
He added that he hoped to return to the Maldives in the coming months.