The religious conservative Adhaalath Party decided last night to break off its coalition agreement with the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), after the party’s consultation council voted 32 to 2 to approve a resolution to leave the government.
Adhaalath becomes the last major party of the ‘Watan Edey’ coalition – formed to rally against former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in the second round run-off of the 2008 presidential election – to leave the MDP-led coalition.
The resolution on terminating the coalition agreement signed with the ruling party on June 30, 2009 states that the government ignored Adhaalath’s “sincere advice and suggestion” while the party was forced to stage street protests “to put a stop to serious matters related to the country’s religion and sovereignty.”
Among the 28 main points noted in the resolution included rising inflation under the current administration, refusal to reimburse deducted amounts from civil servants salaries, failure to alleviate the persisting dollar shortage, appointing unqualified “activists” to manage government corporations and insufficient measures against corruption in the government.
The Adhaalath party claimed that the government was “making secret deals with Israel in the name of the people and pursuing relations with Israel to an extent that threatens the nation’s independence and sovereignty.”
Moreover, the Adhaalath party accused the government of agreeing to “let Israel influence the country’s education curriculum.”
Among government decisions strongly contested by the party, the resolution also referred to a proposal to make Dhivehi and Islam optional subjects in higher secondary education and reclaiming a plot awarded to the Islamic College (Kulliya).
The final eight points meanwhile include the use of force against protesting parents of Arabiyya students, senior government diplomats expressing concern with Maldivian students going to Arabic or Islamic countries for studies, publishing regulations allowing sale of alcohol to non-Muslims in inhabited islands, insufficient cooperation with the Islamic Ministry’s efforts to close down brothels.
In addition, the party contended that the “essence” of the newly-published religious unity regulations was lost after it was diluted by the government, which held it up for 16 months.
Islamic Minister Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari and State Minister for Islamic Affairs Sheikh Hussein Rasheed were reportedly not present when the resolution was passed last night. Neither had responded to calls at time of press.
Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla said “senior government officials in Adhaalath” would be informed that they could no longer represent the party in the government.
At yesterday’s press conference, party spokesperson Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed said the party had no plans to enter into a formal coalition with an opposition party and aspired to become “the most independent political party in the country.”
Sheikh Imran added that the party has not decided whether to field a presidential candidate in 2013.
He explained that the party will decide to either contest the presidency on its own or join a coalition based on the political circumstances in two years.
“That decision will be made by the consultation council when the time comes,” he said. “Nonetheless, as Sheikh Shaheem just said, we will do everything we can to ensure that a government that will work for the benefit of the public and for a brighter future for the people is elected in 2013.”