Just four months in, the government of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has already fulfilled many of the pledges it has made to the people, with its 100-day agenda receiving immense praise from the citizens as well as the international community. The government has given no reason for the people, who have elected them through a valid ballot, to doubt its capabilities in bringing a change.
With the parliamentary elections right around the corner, former President and leader of the government coalition, Mohamed Nasheed is seen frantically urging the people to elect candidates fielded by the ruling party, to the fresh new tenure of the People’s Majlis. Why?
The former President and his loyalists believe the 2012 coup by then opposition was rebellion is its finest form. There are so many things that led up to the alleged coup, back in 2012, that saw the downfall of MDP’s first government.
Seven years later, MDP takes the reign again
The parliamentary elections for the 19th tenure of the People’s Majlis will begin in April and while the ruling party is optimistically carrying out campaigns for their candidates, a wave of nostalgia sweeps over the entire situation. While the people has had to live with the repercussions of Nasheed’s defeat in 2012 for six years since, Nasheed will not let the people forget it.
The former’s assertion is that his bitter experiences of the days are linked with the Parliamentary Election that was held while he was in office. While the ruling party clings onto many reasons why they should maintain grip over the Parliament, Nasheed assures the people that the biggest one is to prevent the re-surfacing of another coup, a sentiment echoed by the incumbent president.
As such, MDP has used every campaign event to remind the people that if they do not receive majority in Parliament, their government will fall again before it has even had the chance to fulfill its pledges. The opposition will create barriers to get in the way of the President fulfilling his many pledges to the people and severe the close bond President Solih keeps with his people, Nasheed claims.
As expected of any opposition in the political sphere, Nasheed’s rivals had in 2012 created many hindrances to his work for the betterment of the people, through the People’s Majlis. Despite the many reforms he had brought to the country, parliamentarians aligned with his party had begun collectively walking out on him.
On 7 February 2012, after weeks of protests by the infuriated people, Maldives police joined them in the early hours of the morning, armed. It was the day democracy lost to intimidation. With the 'forced' resignation of the country’s first democratically elected leader, democracy was swept off the horizon for a good few years.
Ever the brave activist for people’s rights, Nasheed, forever known as the brave man who stood against the country’s long-term statesman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, had stepped down after being faced with two choices; either to resign or use force. Most ironically, the ones behind his downfall were Gayoom and Adhaalath Party’s Sheikh Imran Abdulla who were not shy of their repugnance towards Nasheed’s governance.
It seems near-impossible that the same people who had united to fund, encourage and do everything in their power to ensure Nasheed’s defeat, are now working with him. These are the same people who screamed for Nasheed’s resignation on the streets, scrambled at the army flinging rocks at barricades. These were the people who believed the only way to improve the country’s economy and overall status was to "get rid" of Nasheed.
With this blast from the past, Nasheed’s paranoia is justified. The current government of President Solih is very similarly focusing on putting the people’s rights and interests first as seen during Nasheed’s administration years ago, before he was forced to put up with years of intimidation and isolation. It is indeed clear why a second coup is possible if MDP does not receive majority in Parliament.
With the current opposition’s nostalgia-triggering threats to topple the government, there is all the more reason to believe the coup is just around the corner. The current parliament procedures also add fuel to the possibility of a coup. Some of them include stalling passing government-proposed bills, oppositions many bills against government ministers as well as the alterations brought to pro-government bills with Speaker Qasim, a government coalition leader, sitting idly and observing from his cathedra.
Finally, the big picture clearly portrays why the people must once again unite to keep democracy alive and the government intact. The entirety of the peoples’ future, full of possibilities enlightened by President Solih, is in their own hands.