بســم اللّـه الرّحمـن الرّحيــم
Beloved People of the Maldives:
As-salaam Alaikum Wa-rahmathullahi Wa-barakaathuh;
The most important right accorded to the citizens in a democracy is the right to a free and fair vote. The greatest responsibility of an independent State is to protect and uphold the integrity of that vote and to ensure that each eligible voter has the right to cast their vote, and that each vote is counted.
The presidential election that was held on 7 September went smoothly. I was satisfied with that. Shortly after the first round ended, a case was submitted at the Elections Commission. A few days later, one candidate who competed in the election, filed a case at the Supreme Court, in accordance with the relevant laws. The case alleges irregularities during the voting process. And the ensuing events that followed have put the country into some confusion.
Maldivians have overcome significant challenges in the country’s political life in the past. We have overcome such challenges by exercising calm and patience. Therefore, I am confident that we will be able to peacefully resolve the current issues over the first round of the elections, and proceed with the second round and complete the elections process in a timely manner.
A ruling by the Supreme Court on the on-going case, at the earliest, would help cool the passions in the current situation. It is equally important that allegations of election fraud are substantiated with facts in a Court of law.
Today, presidential candidates, political parties, the Maldivian people, friendly governments, and international organisations are all hoping that the elections process will be completed as soon as possible, and a new President will be sworn-in on 11th November. I give my full assurance that the Government will do everything possible to ensure that happens. The Government is currently making the necessary preparations to ensure a smooth transfer of power takes place.
At this critical time, I call on all Maldivians, including the political leaders, and political parties to show patience. And to respect the Constitution and the laws of the country, and to prioritize peace and harmony of the country.
Every election will have one winner. Yet everyone must share the success of that election. Today, our nascent democracy is experiencing the trials of democracy consolidation. The right to vote is the most sacred right of a citizen. In every previous election, we have heard allegations of fraud. Therefore, we should regard the investigation of such allegations as a way of further strengthening our democracy. The full support and cooperation of everyone is required to ensure that various procedural requirements of the electoral process is fulfilled and is transparent. I therefore urge everyone to give their fullest support to carry out the election process in a fair and peaceful manner.
Maldivians can take care of their own affairs. In the past, we have resolved even more difficult problems on our own. But, if issues remain unresolved for extended periods, external forces would want to intervene. For, when we are in need of help, we seek support from external sources. And even now, some of us are calling for external assistance.
I condemn in the strongest terms, the calls for foreign military interventions in the Maldives. We are not intimidated by such calls. We will defend the country from external forces.
Today, I wish to remind all Maldivians, especially political leaders, that every moment of discord and disharmony amongst us, creates opportunities for external forces to intervene in our internal affairs. Our institutions are young. They may be imperfect. But they are our national institutions. If we do not protect them, the possibility of external forces making decisions for us, over and above these institutions is not a farfetched one. We are capable of making our own decisions. But that is possible only when we protect the Constitution and institutions established under that Constitution; and only when institutions cooperate, rather than attempt to weaken each other.
This is not the time for discord among the three powers of the State. This is not the time to attack each other. Nor is it the time to encourage uncertainty over the State’s capacity to deliver on its constitutional obligation to protect and serve the citizens of the country. This is the time for common sense to prevail in order to protect the Maldivian citizens; to prioritise the national interests over individual political interests.
This country does not belong to any one individual or any single group of people. This country belongs to all Maldivians. Every loss it suffers will be felt by all of us. This is the most important fact we have to keep in mind, particularly now, in order to safeguard our independence.
I hope that the Supreme Court will soon make its ruling on allegations of election fraud. I urge everyone to give their fullest cooperation in enforcing the Court’s ruling. The president, elected through a free and fair election, will be everyone’s President. I assure you that I will give my full support to that president. I also hope that all other institutions of the State would extend their full support to that president as well.
At this critical time, I call on Maldives National Defence Force, and the Maldives Police Service, to prioritise the national interests; to trust the institutions created to form and execute laws; and, to remain sincere in upholding the Constitution and the rule of law.
I also call on the politicians to refrain from using language that may cause anger, fear, or animosity among us. Not to add fuel to the political fires raging on within the country.
I reaffirm to the citizens of Maldives, to continue to pray to Almighty Allah to save us from this difficult phase of our history.
May the Almighty Allah give us patience and make us kind to each other. I pray for the peace and stability of the Maldives.
Wassalaam Alaikum Wa-rahmathullahi Wa-barakaathuh.