Coalition will overcome “ordinary” rifts: Gayoom

Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) leader and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom has disregarded claims of rifts in the current government coalition as “ordinary”, expressing confidence that disputes will be sorted out in the near future.

Coalition partner Jumhooree Party (JP) had expressed dissatisfaction regarding the PPM’s failure to consult the party in compiling the state budget for 2014.

“It is understandable that sometimes, on particular matters, misunderstandings within a coalition may arise. That is how it happens in all parts of the world,” Gayoom said, addressing media upon return to the Maldives from a personal trip to Malaysia.

He stated that in general, the leaders of the coalition parties shared a “strong sense of unity and a spirit of working together”. He assured supporters that he would “wisely take on smoothing out any discord there may be within the coalition”.

While Gayoom speaks of solving issues within the coalition, his half-brother President Abdulla Yameen and JP leader Gasim Ibrahim – whose support was crucial in PPM winning the presidential election – have exchanged harsh criticism against each other regarding the proposed budget for 2014.

Deputy leaders of both parties have dismissed the claims that a rift existed within the coalition.

Upcoming elections

Gayoom further confirmed that as the main party in the coalition, PPM is currently working on assigning constituencies to the coalition partners for the upcoming elections, adding that it will be assigned as was agreed during the formation of the coalition for the presidential election.

PPM is competing in the upcoming elections together with coalition partners JP and Maldives Development Alliance (MDA).

PPM had promised the JP over 30 per cent of cabinet positions, parliamentary seats and local council seats in exchange for their support in the presidential election.

Earlier in November, Gasim expressed concern about the governing party’s failure to fulfill its promises to the JP, adding that it may be because the PPM “is hectically engaged in other government matters”. Stating that he did not believe Yameen or Gayoom would “deprive JP of benefits”, Gasim stated then that he had sent a letter to the PPM’s leader asking for clarification of what the JP is entitled to.

The fourth party in the coalition, religious conservative Adhaalath Party – after having recently dismissed rumours of it leaving the alliance – has announced that it will be contesting in the elections separate from the coalition.