Qasim Ibrahim, the presidential candidate of Jumhoree Party (JP), has pledged to establish an air force and transform the coast guard into a navy in order to protect the nation’s territorial waters and sovereignty, while elaborating on his broader point that even as India remains a close ally, they could not “[be expected] to help us indefinitely.”

Speaking at a function held in Maamigili of Alifu Dhaalu Atoll to officially launch his presidential bid, the JP leader said there are “many who do not have [access to clean] drinking water there,” noting that India would likely prioritise needs of their citizens over those of the others however close or cherished bilateral relations may be. The Maldives cannot forever “lean on others” he said, and that we should look to the example set by our forefathers, and “have the backbone” to “stand on [the nation’s] own feet.”

Qasim also focused scrutiny on past and current administrations that his party has been in coalitions with, stating that even with his assistance, the outcomes of those administrations were less than favourable. “They start looking out for themselves and circling the wagons the moment they are in power,” he reamrked, while going on to assert that this was far from his approach. He emphasised that he remains unwaveringly sincere in his goal of serving the public.

While he was someone with the means to care for his family, the presidential hopeful said, “My goal is to provide every citizen of the Maldives with similar means.” He urged the public to vote for a leader capable of bringing about significant change to the Maldives, rather than voting solely based on the basic lobbying power of big or small parties.