The Maldives government is “back on the route to success, while maintaining current peace and stability”, President Abdulla Yameen said in his new year message, as former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom criticised his half-brother for the continued authoritarian rule of the current regime.
Yameen said the government welcomes the new year with hopes of “achieving more success and progress” in light of the past four years by setting a target to make 2018 the most successful year for his administration.
According to the government, major infrastructure initiatives, such as the expansion of Velana International Airport and the development of new airports across the country, have been great successes while 2018 will see additional housing projects in the suburb of Hulhumalé.
Yameen had earlier stated that 75 per cent of the population will have access to modern sewerage systems and clean water and that 30 new resorts will be established by the end of 2018, creating 18,000 new job opportunities.
“The budget passed by the parliament for 2018 aims to achieve key pledges made in the five-year manifesto,” he said. Gayoom said the opposition coalition’s target was to “free the People’s Majlis in 2018”.
His remarks were in reference to the 10 ex-ruling party MPs who were stripped of their seats because of a Supreme Court anti-defection ruling, which held that MPs who were elected on political party tickets will be disqualified once the electoral body notifies parliament that they have either left their party, been expelled or switched parties.
Gayoom said parliament should be reinstated with the power to make lawful decisions, and rule of law should should be restored this year.
“2017 was a challenging year in which parliament was hijacked by the security forces. It was a year that expanded theft, corruption and fraud which began two, three years ago. It was a year which made the country into a nest of civil unrest,” he said.