On his return from exile last week, former deputy speaker Ahmed Nazim claimed to have played a key role in forming the opposition coalition against the administration of former president Abdulla Yameen.
Nazim, formerly a close associate and Yameen loyalist, was jailed for 25 years on a corruption charge in April 2015. He sought asylum in the UK after he was granted medical leave to travel to Singapore.
“The foundation for this work was laid when I was allowed to travel abroad. When I was in Singapore for medical treatment, I facilitated a meeting between Faris Maumoon and Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. That meeting held in my presence was where the foundation for the coalition was laid,” he told reporters at the airport Saturday morning.
The coalition led by the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party was bolstered by the weight of Faris’s father, former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, in March last year. Solih, who was the MDP’s parliament leader, went on to decisively defeat the incumbent in September’s polls as the joint opposition candidate.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court suspended Nazim’s sentence for a review his conviction and cleared the way for his return. Nazim was welcomed at the airport by family members and Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, who was appointed as home minister later that night.
The former Dhiggaru MP said he had worked to “overthrow” Yameen.
“Yameen said he failed to understand the people. My question is, did people fail to understand Yameen or did Yameen fail to understand people? I am sure that Yameen could not understand me. That is because, in the same way I played a key role in bringing Yameen to power, I also played a key role in his downfall,” he continued.
In his farewell speech, Yameen had said what he failed to do was “learn people” and accused estranged allies of pursuing self-interest.
“I couldn’t learn at all when these five years went by why these changes have come to people’s ideology and thinking, and I couldn’t learn under what kind of influence the thinking of political leaders and the Maldivian people changes at the speed that it does,” he said.
Nazim also told reporters he would assist the current Dhiggaru MP Faris Maumoon and expressed confidence that the Supreme Court would overturn his conviction.