Additional reporting by Mohamed Naahii
The Adhaalath Party (AP) has quit President Mohamed Waheed’s ‘Forward with the Nation’ coalition due to “mysterious events”, a day after the party slammed Waheed for telling the AFP the party had “extremist” individuals.
During a two day official visit to Sri Lanka, President Waheed told the news agency that it was “better to work with” the self-claimed Islamist party despite some elements within the party holding “extreme views”, since excluding the party from mainstream politics risked marginalising it. This, he said, would have a “negative long-term effect”.
In a statement (Dhivehi) published on the Adhaalath Party’s website Tuesday (July 9), the party said that it had been offended by the remarks and that such comments from the president would affect its relationship with Waheed’s party Gaumee Iththihaadh Party (GIP). The party also denounced the claim that it held extreme views.
“The Adhaalath Party does not by any means hold extremist views. The party is working to introduce Islamic principles to the country, to protect the Islamic faith of the country and the country’s sovereignty,” read the statement.
“Therefore, the party leadership and its members are deeply disappointed by such allegations,” it added.
Yesterday (July 10) following the party’s announcement that Waheed’s comments would have a “significant negative effect” on their relationship, Adhaalath decided to leave the ‘Forward the Nation’ coalition during a meeting of their Consultative Council.
A near unanimous 97 percent of the council voted to leave the ‘Forward with the Nation’ due to “mysterious events”, as well as the coalitions prospective inability to succeed in “saving the nation” from former President Mohamed Nasheed’s “sacrilegious actions”, AP President Sheikh Imran Abdullah told local media.
“By the will of God, Adhaalath Party will continue to facilitate in providing a safe passage in order to save the nation from Nasheed,” said Abdullah.
He added that the party’s efforts to resolve issues within the coalition last week were “of no use”, however despite leaving ‘Forward with the Nation’, AP will continuously work toward “taking people to safe harbour”.
In a statement (Dhivehi) released today (July 11), the Adhaalath Party detailed their reasoning for leaving Waheed’s coalition.
“They were not putting much effort in preventing Nasheed’s anti-religious, anti-nationalist secular rule from coming back. The ‘broad coalition’ was formed with high hopes to prevent this, but now it seems the coalition is incapable of it,” read the statement.
“No solution has been proposed by other members of the coalition,” it continued.
“By the will of almighty Allah, the Adhaalath [Party] will do whatever it can to protect the sovereignty of this country and its religion from all threats and will continue its actions within the best interests of the state,” it added.
Earlier this week – prior to Waheed’s AFP interview – reports were circulating that the GIP and AP had a falling out with each other after the Adhaalath Party expressed concern over a lack of campaign activities.
Meanwhile, there have been unconfirmed reports suggesting that Adhaalath is now considering the possibility of entering into coalition with resort tycoon Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhoree Party (JP).
The GIP and ‘Forward with the Nation’ still hopes to work together with AP “even after the presidential elections,” the coalition stated in a press release issued yesterday, following the AP’s announcement it was leaving the coalition.
“The Coalition does not have any hard feelings towards Adhaalath Party,” read the statement.
“We also thank Adhaalath Party Leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla and other members for their time and support in forming this coalition.
“We believe that, even though we do not campaign together, our final goal must be to strengthen democracy and uphold democratic values and also to work in the best interest of the people,” it concluded.
The President’s ‘Forward with the nation’ coalition which is backing Waheed’s bid for election in September, now includes the government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) and the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP). However, several key members of DQP have since defected to the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), while DRP leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali was recently taken to court by a series of creditors.
The Adhaalath Party President Sheik Imran and Sobah Rasheed, AP Member and team leader of Waheed’s election coalition media team, were not responding to calls at time of press.
Jumhoree Party (JP) Spokesperson Moosa Ramiz and Gaumee Itthihad Party (GIP) Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza were also not responding to calls at time of press.