Former Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed highlighted his past record of protecting Islam and upholding the rule of law in a message of thanks addressed to opposition supporters.
The Maldivian Democratic Party on Monday voted to team up with Jameel, a controversial figure for opposition supporters because of his role in former President Mohamed Nasheed’s ouster in 2012.
Expressing his “heart-felt and sincere thanks,” Jameel said he had always worked to “maintain the religious unity of the country, to preserve sovereignty, ensure the protection of law, safeguard constitutional rights, and ensure that the Maldivian people are the beneficiaries of the Maldives’ wealth.”
Jameel’s alliance with the MDP harks back to the later years of Nasheed’s administration when the religious conservative Adhaalath Party, tourism tycoon Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhooree Party, and Jameel’s now defunct Dhivehi Gaumee Party allied with the Maldives’ strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to topple Nasheed.
Many members of the anti-Nasheed coalition have joined forces with the MDP to oust President Abdulla Yameen, Gayoom’s half-brother and Jameel’s former boss.
Jameel was impeached with MDP backing during a political crisis triggered by Nasheed’s imprisonment on a terror charge.
The new alliance has fuelled derision and fresh questions among opposition supporters, despite the MDP having absorbed many former rivals, including former Speaker Abdulla Shahid, Gayoom’s former running mate and former MP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, and AP President Sheikh Imran Abdulla.
In his brief statement, Jameel, who currently resides in self-imposed exile in the UK, said: “It is my belief that all who love the Maldives must work together to save ourselves from the dangers we find ourselves in today.
“This is why I have decided to join forces with the MDP and President Nasheed, who have remained steadfast, and all those working tirelessly for this cause.”
During the national council vote on the alliance with Jameel, many MDP members referred to Jameel as “our elected vice president.”
Both Jameel and Nasheed are scheduled to address opposition supporters through video messages on Thursday night.
Nasheed is also in the UK after the government succumbed to international pressure in January and authorised 30 days of medical leave from prison.
Yameen’s besieged regime is now mired in a massive corruption scandal that only emerged that only came to light after Jameel’s successor, Ahmed Adeeb, was jailed and impeached on suspicion of links to a blast that took place on Yameen’s speedboat in September.