Following the Maldives’ combined opposition candidate MDP’s Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s win in the presidential election, the country has been witnessing fast-moving developments. Despite initial skepticism, incumbent President Abdullah Yameen Abdul Gayoom conceded defeat and the courts have begun the release of political detainees—all this in less than 24 hours after the provisional results were made official. In an exclusive interview to SNI, Shauna Aminath, currently a combined opposition campaign leader and former President Mohamed Nasheed’s aide, talks to Amitabh P Revi about the big win for democracy and resetting India relations.
Q: Congratulations on the big opposition win. Though you predicted the victory, what are the feelings you’re
A: One of hope, and happiness, and joy. A wonderful feeling that our democracy has survived, and that we no longer have to live in fear from a brutal regime.
Q: How crucial was it that there was a combined opposition candidate?
A: I think the coalition played a crucial role in attracting such a big win. Ibu Solih didn’t just win this election; by Maldivian standards it was a landslide. We’ve never had such a big victory in our 10 years of democratic elections.
Q: President Solih has promised to get ex-President Maumoon and political prisoners released on Day 1 in office. That is a priority considering the Criminal Court has released four of them within hours of the result?
A: The President-elect has been very clear right through the campaign that respect for human rights, and the rule of law, is a priority. There are many, many political prisoners in our jails, and we look forward to their imminent freedom. This includes the leaders of two parties in our coalition, former President Maumoon and Sheikh Imran, who are in jail. Also, there are leaders who have been forced into exile after unfair trials and wrongful convictions, namely former President Nasheed and Hon. Gasim Ibrahim. We look forward to their homecoming.