Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim has invited all opposition parties to begin talks on defending the Constitution.
After officially leaving the Progressive Coalition earlier this week, the party has invited the largest minority party, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), to talks at the JP’s headquarters tonight, explained party spokesman Ali Solih.
The JP has also invited the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) and the Adhaalath Party to the talks, despite the religious party being an unofficial member of the governing coalition.
Adhaalath, which holds a single seat in the People’s Majlis, has received an invitation to future talks but has not yet decided on whether it will attend, said the party through its official twitter account.
The JP has also announced that it will be represented by former transport minister Ameen Ibrahim, Dr Hussain Rasheed, Abdulla Kamaludeen, MP Ali Hussein, MP Hussein Mohamed, and former Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz.
The JP – which has 13 MPs in the 85-seat Majlis – this week voted through its national council to give leader Gasim Ibrahim the authority to make all decisions regarding actions needed to defend the Constitution.
The JP was officially aligned with the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives until May last year, after having given crucial backing to Abdulla Yameen in the 2013 presidential race.
Yameen eventually beat MDP candidate Nasheed in a much-delayed poll after the Supreme Court’s controversial annulment of the first round following complaints lodged by third-placed candidate Gasim.
However, after friction between the coalition partners during the Majlis campaign, Gasim’s decision to stand against the PPM’s candidate for Majlis speaker in May prompted the PPM decided to unilaterally expel the JP from the ruling coalition.
Gasim’s subsequent opposition to key government legislation was accompanied by threats against both his businesses and his person, leading the JP to accuse opposition politicians of intimidation tactics.
Unofficial talks were announced earlier this month between the JP and MDP, which holds 22 seats in the Majlis, while Nasheed has pledged to defend Gasim against government attacks.
Both parties have accused the government of repeated breaches of the Constitution and attempts to influence independent institutions. Prominent incidents cited include the recent, replacement of the auditor general, the removal of two Supreme Court judges.
Nasheed last week urged President Yameen to convene all party talks which include the Progressive Party of Maldives’ leader and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Yameen has this week met with both former President Dr Mohamed Waheed and former President Gayoom, with whom the current political climate was discussed, said the President’s Office.
PPM officials were not responding to calls at the time of press.
President’s Gayoom’s former party, the DRP, has been largely dormant since its most prominent members switched to the MDP after the 2013 presidential elections.
After announcing a rebrand effort in the month following the elections, it failed to win any seats in the subsequent Majlis elections, and just a single council seat in the local elections.
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