JP office vandalised with crude oil

The Jumhooree Party (JP) office at Maafanu Kunooz in Malé was vandalised with crude oil last night.

JP Spokesperson Ali Solih told local media that two men on a motorcycle hurled crude oil at the door of the party’s headquarters during a press conference by JP Deputy Leader Ameen Ibrahim and Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Chairperson Ali Waheed.

Solih said the incident was reported to police along with the license plate number of the motorcycle.

The crude oil was also splashed over JP MP Abdulla Riyaz’s car parked outside the office, he noted.

At last night’s press conference, Ameen meanwhile denied allegations that JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim made a deal with Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb during a meeting at business magnate ‘Champa’ Mohamed Moosa’s residence on Monday night (March 2).

Following the meeting, government-aligned Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) MP Mohamed Saleem withdrew an amendment to the constitution that would have barred Gasim from contesting the presidency in 2018.

Saleem’s amendment proposed adding a 65-year age limit to the eligibility criteria for presidential candidates.

Gasim did not ask for the bill to be withdrawn, Ameen insisted, claiming that he had learned pro-government MPs had decided to withdraw the legislation before the meeting took place.

While Adeeb had offered to withdraw the bill, Ameen said Gasim told the deputy leader of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) he was not overly concerned about the proposed amendment.

As a three quarters majority of the total membership of parliament is needed to amend the constitution, the amendment would have required MDP and JP MPs’ votes to be passed.

Ameen said Gasim and Champa Moosa were longstanding business partners who offered mutual assistance and had a “strong relationship.”

Adeeb arrived halfway through the meeting at Champa Moosa’s invitation, Ameen said, adding that Gasim did not object to Adeeb’s participation.

Gasim asked Adeeb to facilitate the release of former President Mohamed Nasheed and former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim, he continued, and wide-ranging discussions took place on the subject.

Ameen suggested that the timing of the constitutional amendment’s withdrawal was intended to sow discord in the MDP-JP alliance.

The opposition alliance’s joint commission meeting and the press briefing was “clear proof” that Gasim did not make a deal, Ameen said, assuring supporters that the alliance remains strong.

MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed said the government’s main target at present would be breaking up the alliance.

Referring to a group of young men on a pickup chanting slogans against Gasim and calling for Nasheed’s release last night, Waheed alleged it was part of efforts by the PPM to “sow discord” in the alliance.