Former President Mohamed Nasheed is making efforts to garner support ahead of the upcoming Presidential Elections, as he endeavours to persuade voters from the largest opposition party, the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), to vote for his movement, The Democrats.

Nasheed, who is now affiliated with the recently established ‘The Democrats’ party, reached out to PPM members last week, asserting that a vote for his party was the sole means to secure the release of the imprisoned PPM leader and former President, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

The leadership of PPM swiftly rebuffed Nasheed’s appeal, with President Yameen himself urging his party to steer clear of what he referred to as the “shenanigans of (the) Democrats.”

Following this dismissal, Nasheed is now urging PPM members to support The Democrats by suggesting that the PPM-endorsed candidate, Dr Mohamed Muizzu of its coalition partner People’s National Congress (PNC), would lead to irreparable damage to the nation and its citizens.

Although Nasheed did not provide specifics during a campaign rally in Kolamaafushi of Gaafu Alifu Atoll, he claimed that Muizzu’s demeanor and actions would drastically shift once he assumes office, disregarding President Yameen’s advice entirely.

Nasheed went on to assert that Muizzu’s actions would have dire consequences for Yameen, even pushing him “to the brink of death.” Stressing that a vote for Muizzu would spell disaster for the Maldives, Nasheed urged PPM voters to rally behind The Democrats and support their candidate, Ilyas Labeeb.

Nasheed’s abrupt change in approach has faced strong criticism from his adversaries, with PPM leadership labelling it a strategy aimed at sowing discord within the PPM.

Amidst these critiques, Nasheed has altered his stance, stating that he would refrain from political engagement with PPM or its leader, Abdulla Yameen, while continuing to advocate for Yameen’s release from prison.

Yameen has been serving an 11-year jail sentence on bribery and money laundering convictions stemming from the biggest financial frauds in Maldivian history. At the time, Nasheed was a prominent advocate for Yameen’s conviction.

Nasheed has since changed his viewpoint, asserting that the fraud implicated numerous high-ranking officials, and that convicting only Yameen was unjust.

Reflecting on his own conviction during Yameen’s rule, Nasheed opined that genuine humanity is demonstrated by letting go of vengeful notions and striving for justice. He reiterated his commitment to advocating for Yameen’s release.

While Nasheed’s adversaries perceive his shifting stance as a political manoeuvre, Nasheed asserts that his actions are motivated by his dedication to human rights.