The Adhaalath Party will not join discussions held between the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the Jumhooree Party (JP).
In a brief statement released by Adhaalath yesterday (January 31), it was announced that the party’s council had decided it would not “for the time being” participate in talks held by the two opposition parties, giving assurances that it would “closely monitor” events.
“If the occasion calls for discussions in relation to national interests that concern the citizens, Adhaalath Party will maintain and follow the noble principle of negotiation and discussions with the government and other parties”, the statement read.
After the MDP and JP officially agreed to work together in defence of the Constitution last week, JP Spokesman Ali Solih said he believed Adhaalath would enter the talks.
However, Adhaalath Spokesman Sheikh Ali Zahir told Minivan News today that the decision had been taken because “no such talks were found to be of use for the time being”.
He denied any pressure from the government regarding the party’s participation in the talks, stating that “Adhaalath is an independent political party” and that “the party is in no formal agreement with the government”.
The party, which has just one MP in the 85-seat Majlis has been considered an unofficial partner in the ruling Progressive Coalition, which now directly controls 49 seats in the house after further party switching last week.
Meanwhile, MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed tweeted in response to Adhaalath’s decision stating that he respects the decision taken by the party, expressing his gratitude over the decision to closely monitor the state of the country.
Although Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party leader Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed was not responding to calls at the time of publication, he told Minivan News last week that the party had received the invitation for all-party talks and that its council had not yet decided on the matter.
Vice President of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Abdulla Abdul Raheem was not responding to calls at the time of press. The party has yet to officially comment after MDP leader Mohamed Nasheed had called for its involvement in the talks.
After “successful” talks between MDP and JP on the eve of January 27, the JP hosted a rally at their headquarters in Maafannu Kunooz yesterday, in which senior MDP members and supporters participated.
As he had during an MDP demonstration in support of JP leader Gasim last month, MDP Chairperson Waheed appeared alongside JP leader MP Gasim Ibrahim, while the parliamentary groups of both parties also attended.
The JP – which has 13 MPs in the Majlis – last week voted through its national council to give Gasim the authority to make all decisions regarding actions needed to defend the Constitution.
Nasheed has recently reiterated calls made in early December to install Gasim as president, telling Raajje TV last week that his main aim was to have the Maamigili MP oversee an early election from the President’s Office.
A PPM has proposed to amend the Constitution, however, which would reduce the eligibility for presidential candidates to those aged between 35 and 65.
The JP was officially aligned with the ruling PPM until Gasim’s decision to stand for the Majlis speaker position, after having given crucial backing to Abdulla Yameen in the 2013 presidential race.
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