May Day frontline

Opposition leaders welcome president’s call for talks

The three opposition parties have welcomed President Abdulla Yameen’s call for talks, but some have called for the release of imprisoned leaders ahead of negotiations.

Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim in a tweet said his party is ready to commence talks with the government, while Adhaalath Party spokesperson Ali Zahir said the religious conservative party will always heed calls for negotiations called for in good faith.

Welcoming the president’s call, the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) vice president Mohamed Shifaz insisted the party’s imprisoned leadership – ex-president Mohamed Nasheed and party chairperson Ali Waheed – must be able to sit at the table.

“We are ready to talk with President Yameen. These are discussions with President Yameen. Our leadership will participate on our behalf,” he said.

The Adhaalath Party has also said its detained leader, Sheikh Imran Abdulla, will represent the party in any official talks.

The religious conservative party called on the government to “create an atmosphere conducive to dialogue” by releasing Imran and other protesters arrested from the May Day anti-government demonstration.

President Yameen’s appeal comes amidst growing international pressure to release ex-president Mohamed Nasheed and ex-defence Minister Mohamed Nazim.

The JP, the Adhaalath Party and the MDP formed a coalition in March and continued daily protests over what they called the government’s attempt to silence the opposition.

The Maldivians against tyranny coalition have previously called for negotiations and demanded the government release Nasheed and Nazim. However, president Yameen maintains the pair were tried through independent courts, and says he cannot meet the opposition’s demands.

The president’s office spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali told Minivan News that the government’s stance has not changed, and the president can only negotiate over lawful demands.

Nasheed and Nazim must appeal their respective convictions on terrorism and weapons smuggling, he said.

Meanwhile, MDP parliamentary group leader Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Mohamed Solih told local newspaper Avas that the opposition coalition’s steering committee will discuss the president’s offer before making a comment.

The opposition held a 20,000-strong march in Malé on May Day after labelling President Yameen’s overtures at talks “insincere.” The president had appointed tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb as his representative for talks, but the opposition says they will only sit with the president himself.

They’ve also accused Adeeb of corruption and illicit connections with gangs, a claim the tourism minister has denied.

Nearly 200 people were arrested at the May Day protest and hundreds were injured in a police crackdown. Police used tear gas, stun grenades, pepper spray and baton charges to disperse protesters when they attempted to enter Malé’s restricted Republic Square.

MDP’s chairperson Ali Waheed, Sheikh Imran and JP deputy leader Ameen Ibrahim were arrested and remanded for 15 days.

The high court released Ameen today, but upheld the remand detention of Waheed and Imran.

Meanwhile, the criminal court has reportedly issued an arrest warrant for Gasim over the police’s claim he had funded the May Day protests. The JP leader is in Thailand at present.

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2 thoughts on “Opposition leaders welcome president’s call for talks”

  1. Government can talk with anyone. But Government does have the right to exempt some one from taxes (or debt) some one owes to the 350,000 Maldivians. Most likely a deal would be done between Government and Qasim at the expense of the state and citizens.

    ..go on the streets to talk of citizens rights. My foot.

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  2. What rights police has to use force against people, when a sizeable people go against the government and police, the police and the so called government has to listen to them, but we see the so called police gearing up with tear gas pepper spray and baton to face un armed people and start to beating them up. What kind of mentality is this? In such situation even public hit a police or destroy public property, how can government retaliate them, on the other hand if you have no tolerance to listen to people why do you want hold your power with guns and sticks. You either meet their demand or just go home without harming anyone, I don’t see any justification to fight against your own people just to revenge your critics . no one forced you to take up that position, you have voluntarily gave up your freedom in the name of serving the public. Even there is single person who don’t like you, he has all the rights to voice against you, and if you have 40% of people who don’t like you then you should listen and negotiate, you can’t just ignore them and how can you use violence against them. This is beyond the common sense of any reasonable person.

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