Nasheed: Democrats backs President Muizzu based on prospect for India relations

Then-President-Elect Dr. Mohamed Muizzu visits the Parliament and meets then-Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed on October 3, 2023. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Former president Mohamed Nasheed states The Democrats, a political party spearheaded by himself, backs President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu based on the current prospect for India relations by the current administration.

The Democrats refrained from backing either candidate in the runoff following the defeat of the party’s candidate Ilyas Labeeb in the first round of September’s presidential election.

Sharing Democrats’ views via a post on X from his unofficial account, Nasheed stressed that an overhaul of Maldives’ foreign policy following each election would be a huge loss to the Maldivian citizens.

His remarks come as the current administration undertakes efforts to mend the soured relations between Maldives.

Nasheed, via a post on X from his official account following his attendance at the inauguration ceremony of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a historic third term, welcomed these efforts. In this regard, he congratulated both President Muizzu and PM Modi for their patience and foresight “to enable a course-correction” in Maldives’ foreign policy towards India.

Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo/People's Majlis)

He also commented on President Muizzu’s participation in the ceremony, citing all Maldivians are very happy that a Maldivian president was there to witness the historic event.

Nasheed had been a strong critique of the ‘India Out’ campaign led by the PPM-PNC coalition when they had been the opposition; a campaign which he described was aimed at inciting hatred towards India among Maldivians.

Nasheed who led the Maldives between 2008 and 2018 maintained a close relationship with India during his administration and been strongly reliant on the neighboring country for various purposes.

President Muizzu came to power on the promise of fulfilling the ‘India Out’ pledge; a pledge to withdraw all Indian military personnel based in the Maldives. While this strained relations between the nations to an extent, it was further heightened after three deputy ministers made disparaging social media comments about PM Modi and India.

The tensions, however, had dissipated to an extent following Maldivian Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer's May visit to India. 

Meanwhile, PM Modi has described President Muizzu’s visit to attend his inauguration as a symbol of improving relations between the nations.