Former president Mohamed Nasheed has proposed switching to a parliamentary system after a six-year interim national unity government to oversee transitional justice and constitutional reforms.
The interim government would reform the judiciary and the security services, and ensure the independence of oversight bodies.
“During the first year and a half of these six years, we must provide relief to those Maldivians who have faced loss, sadness and brutality,” the exiled opposition leader said Friday night.
Nasheed was speaking via video link at a rally held in Addu City to launch his campaign for the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s presidential primary.
The MDP has long backed shifting to a parliamentary system after voters were unwilling in both the 2008 and 2013 elections to grant a popular mandate to a single candidate. Both the MDP and the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives won power with the backing of broad coalitions that disintegrated within months.
Coalition agreements have no legal weight under the Maldivian constitution, which was designed for a US-style presidential system.
Maldivians did not envision either an “adversarial political system” or an all-powerful executive branch when multi-party democracy was introduced, Nasheed said.
He reiterated calls for the joint opposition to field a single candidate, who should seek to extend the term of the current parliament beyond March 2019 in order to carry out judicial reform and establish transitional justice.
The constitution could then be amended to switch to a parliamentary system, he added.
The 50-year-old, who remains barred from contesting September’s polls due to a 13-year prison sentence, suggested that his supporters could secure his candidacy.
Nasheed also outlined key components of his “blue economy” manifesto under the slogan ‘Jazeera Raees’ (Island President), including a “low-carbon development strategy,” decentralisation, a minimum wage, a comprehensive social safety net and tariff-free economic centres outside the capital region.
“The purpose of the blue economy is to increase the income of every household. Instead of a faraway SEZ [special economic zone], the centre of development should become an activity conducted in one’s own house,” he said.