Maldives

Campaign trail: A Medina with a racing track

daily roundup of headlines made by the candidates, running mates and their surrogates on the campaign trail.

September 15

Opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ‘Ibu’ continued his tour of the central atolls with a rally in Lhaviyani Naifaru after visiting islands in the northern Malé and Ari atolls. On Naifaru, he spent nearly an hour shaking hands with supporters who lined up to greet the veteran lawmaker who represented Lhaviyani atoll for 15 years.

In the wake of the Maldives national team’s victory in the SAFF Championship, Ibu used his speech to outline his sports policy. An audit of the available sporting infrastructure would be conducted within the first three months, he pledged, after which facilities would be established on every inhabited island. Each island would have a professional sports councillor to assist with exercising and sports activities.

Other pledges included sports arenas, two swimming pools in the Malé area, a national football league, international water sports tournaments, and financial assistance and healthcare for national team athletes.

“In my government, the gap in the allowance given to male and female players of national teams will be eliminated,” he vowed.

A website with the coalition manifesto and key policies was launched over the weekend.

In response to a Reporters Without Borders call to make three core pledges for press freedom, Ibu tweeted: “I pledge to open investigations into journalist Ahmed Rilwan’s disappearance, Yameen Rasheed’s murder, repeal the anti-defamation act and ensure press freedom.”

President Abdulla Yameen returned to Malé after campaigning in the two southernmost atolls. Fuvahmulah was the last island he would be visiting for the campaign, he said. Referring to the defection of two ruling party lawmakers who represent Fuvahmulah constituencies, Yameen appealed for an “extraordinary” effort from campaigners on the populous island.

Speaking at a rally in Vilimalé Saturday night, an island suburb of the capital, Yameen described the new city he proposes to develop as a “total solution” for the housing shortage in the Greater Malé area as “a medina” for youth.

The Villimalé 2 or ‘Hiyaa Accomplished’ project is an “integrated concept” that envisions an international transhipment port or “re-export trading port” with packing and warehouse facilities. The new commercial harbour would become a regional hub that would solve congestion of the Malé port, he added.

He pledged to connect the capital via a bridge to the industrial island Thilafushi, Gulhi Falhu and the 230 hectares of lagoon to be reclaimed for Vilimalé 2.

A racing track would also be developed in the new city, Yameen announced. The government needs to develop sporting infrastructure to allow Maldivian athletes to compete internationally, he said, pledging to develop surfing facilities in Thamburudhoo.

On the football team’s victory, Yameen said successes in sport unite the public despite intense political rivalry.

“For a certainty, when the Maldives national team comes back there won’t be a particular colour, there won’t be a particular ideology. We will all raise our hands to congratulate the Maldivian team. Sports in a sense doesn’t know political boundaries.”

Full details are available at the link below:

Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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