DRP enters coalition with President Waheed, commits “political suicide” claims MDP

The government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has  said it will stand in a coalition with President Dr Mohamed Waheed during September’s elections as part of an agreement to strengthen its position in the political “middle-ground”.

Party spokesperson Ibrahim Shareef told Minivan News that with the DRP battling for space in the middle ground between the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), it had opted to form as broad a coalition as possible to try and ensure a second round electoral victory.

“No party in the country will get more than 35 percent of the vote during the first round, even the MDP which remains the biggest single party,” he said, adding that the party continued to rule out working with the PPM beyond the present government.

Speaking following the coalition announcement today, the MDP accused the DRP and its current leader – one-time presidential candidate MP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali – of committing political “suicide” by continuing to side with a government the opposition party’s supporters accuse of coming to power in a “coup d’etat” last year.

Earlier this year the government-aligned Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) and religious conservative Adhaalath Party both announced their intentions to join a coalition with President Waheed’s Gaumee Ithihaad Party (GIP).

Both the DQP and GIP are small political parties currently facing potential dissolution for lacking the minimum requirement of 10,000 members as stipulated in the recently passed Political Parties Act.

“Too hardline”

DRP spokesperson Shareef said today that competing directly against the GIP or other government-aligned parties like the Jumhoree Party (JP) would only allow the PPM – as the country’s second largest party in terms of MPs – to emerge as a front runner during a potential run-off vote.

He went on to accuse the PPM, which was formed from a breakaway sections of DRP supporters loyal to former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, as being “too hardline” to benefit the Maldivian people.

“This is a party to belongs to one family, or a supreme leader,” Shareef said, referring to Gayoom, who previously formed the DRP in 2005 during his 30 year rule of the country.

He added that even with the MDP presently being the country’s largest party, it was not itself capable of obtaining even 35 percent of the vote – a 51 percent share is required to form a government.

Shareef said considering the MDP’s likely support, being part of a coalition gave the DRP a better chance of securing election during a second round of voting, adding that increased polarisation between the country’s two largest parties during the last seven years was “leading the country nowhere”.

“There is no chance of a first round victory, so unless we have a strong coalition, those of us in the political middle ground would be forced to support the MDP,” he claimed.

Shareef added that no demands has so far been made by the party with regard to securing senior cabinet or government positions such as the vice presidency, should the coalition be voted into power.

“It would be nice to have [the vice presidential position], but we are not asking for cabinet posts or a certain share of ministers, we believe that unity is needed right now,” he claimed.

Since the controversial transfer of power that on February 7, 2012, which saw former President Mohamed Nasheed resign from office following a mutiny by sections of the police and military the DRP has been part of a coalition government with other former opposition parties including the PPM, JP, DQP and the Adhaalath Party.

Asked whether a similar coalition of parties similar to those already serving under the current administration would be electable, Shareef said he believed President Waheed had served the country admirably to hold so many rival political figures together.

“When you have a government that comes into power by accident it will always be a lame duck [administration],” he claimed. “President Waheed has done an admirable thing and filled a political vacuum.”

After the coalition agreement was announced today, DRP Deputy Leader MP Rozaina Adam took to social network service Twitter to accuse both the PPM and the MDP of “desperation” by trying to disparage the party’s decision to enter a coalition with the president.

Political “suicide”

However, MDP MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor argued that September’s election would be divided along the lines of those voting against a government deemed to have come to power in a “coup d’etat” last year and those in support of the present administration.

“This an an election based on recovering from a coup government,” he said.  “The election will be along these lines.”

Ghafoor claimed that by opting to stay aligned with the current government of President Waheed, DRP Leader MP Thasmeen had committed political “suicide”.

“We have been travelling all over the country as a party recently, and we have seen lots of concern that this coup administration has ruined the economy and stalled investment projects. We are will be lucky if we can avoid [sovereign] default before the election is held,” he said.

“Our candidate [former President Mohamed Nasheed] has previously summarised it well. You have the MDP making three foot strides, the PPM making half foot strides and the present government going backwards,” he said.

Ghafoor also said  he had met a large number of local councilors from government-aligned parties during his travels who had expressed concern at a perceived focus by the current administration to centralise power as much as possible.

Speaking to Minivan News last month, former Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, now standing as running mate to PPM presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen, said that the political landscape since the country’s first multi-party elections in 2008 necessitated a willingness to share power more than ever with “major” political parties.

“We have to recognise that the PPM and the MDP are the two major political forces in the country capable of winning elections. Hence, if the governing coalition desires to forge an alliance, it cannot realistically exclude the PPM from any such move. Whether a coalition, inclusive of the PPM can be realised prior to the elections is possible or not, we cannot alienate major political parties in an election,” he said at the time.


19 thoughts on “DRP enters coalition with President Waheed, commits “political suicide” claims MDP”

  1. Maldives deserves a woman at least as a VP.
    Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh all had women leaders.

    With the strong support base of MDP among women and the young, a strong woman as the VP would be an ideal choice.

  2. What we must understand is that voting is not about the hoopla created during the run up to an election. Its about whats in store once the elected government comes to power. With DRP joining Waheed, we may even see Umar Naseer joining this coalition taking the split voters of PPM with him. But if this coalition is elected imagine the government we will have for next 5 years. First of all its a coalition. Waheed, the president, survived the election only because of his coalition partners. This will allow the coalition partners to exert serious influence on the presidency. Thus again creating a president who is a slave to a coalition. the history of coalitions in Maldives is filled with failed attempts. MDP failed, so did Waheed when he became president. So, i will never vote for a president who is a slave to a stale politician Thasmeen and extermist group adhaalath.

  3. ISSUE - DRP backs President Waheed's allied front for the presidency.

    Is this legal?
    Not legally recognized by the system of governance but not prohibited either. In short there is nothing in the law preventing parties from unifying behind a single candidate.

    What say the parties?
    President Waheed is ecstatic. DRP and PPM are not so thrilled.

    My opinion?
    Let us look at the officially registered membership of the parties backing Waheed. DRP - 21,411 , Adalat - 10,562, DQP - 1,967 & GIP - 3,930. So, on the books Waheed now has a support base of 37,870 voters. Political pundits predict that Qasim's JP - 12,154 and Shiyam's MDA - 3349 may join the Waheed coalition. This would then boost Waheed's numbers to 53,373. Meanwhile PPM would have a registered membership of 22,383 and MDP 45,666. A simple comparison leads us to believe that Waheed's coalition would have the larger number of dedicated voters with the final outcome depending on the swing vote which of course outnumbers the total number of voters registered at political parties.

    These numbers are of course subject to weaknesses in the system. Political parties often entice voters to join using bribes, rent and whatnot, resulting in several joining without a cause or any sincerity. Those who are recruited on that basis may not cast their vote for the candidate fielded by their registered political party. Also the lack of awareness about and inherent opaqueness of the procedure to remove one's name from the political party register means that the numbers registered at the older parties are likely to be just bluster. Also, even the younger parties and the ones battling to reach the statutory minimum may have used their influence in government to get more members.

    DRP's decision to join may have effects other than merely adding numbers. The party has among its cadre several of the most highly trained technocrats who have served in government. They also have among them quite a number of wealthy backers who would finance Waheed's campaign.

    However, given the uncertainties mentioned above as well as other externalities one cannot make as accurate a prediction as one would wish. That said, Waheed's backers include some of the kingmakers who brought Nasheed to the presidency. Surely Waheed is now an equal contender at the least and only time will tell who comes out at the top.

  4. @Woman VP - why not

    BMW now has two able women in his coalition. Hassan Saeed and Thasmeen.

    Who is your choice?

  5. As a reader allow me to thanks 'tsk tsk' for giving a bit of an analysis to the news. Analysis is very rare in Maldives news reporting.

    Even if a little bit short or biased (who cares), your analysis give more color and texture making it easier to take the news seriously as compared to British tabloid style that we get from Minivan.


  6. A woman VP? I wonder who would qualify... a quick thought: potential candidate(s) need to run through rehab first.

  7. The lady-boy dropped her skirt to the master crow!

    Mind you, BMW will just use you, abuse you, tickle you, whack you, and dump you. Prostitute transvestites are not wanted here!

  8. Even the current system does not say that the president must come from a party and people are not voting to party and they are voting for the individual?

    So coalition also does not have any legal binding so does the president with the party too?

    But there is a moral ground to work with and both coalition and even the candidate from the party as a president must work to work on moral ground in unifying the people.

    Once elected , he/she is not the president of the party and he/she is the president of the nation and he/she must work for the benefit of the people of the country and not his party members.

    Nasheed failed to maintain the coalition due to his lack of leadership quality and his arrogance and dictatorial attitude and that can not be an excuse for having a collation and unified party system .

  9. Thasmeens actions will be backed with an important financial gain for himself. This coalition has un-forseen advantages to MDP.

  10. The novelty factor of DRP joining Waheed has legitimised Waheed coalition from its post "baagee" party status. Furthermore it has also raised Thasmeen profile from the depth it was in since Maumoon left DRP leadership. All Maldivians, even the ones in the opposition, will feel this paradigm shift today. It is a mistake for MDP and PPM to underestimate Waheed coalition now by calling it "political suicide". Having said that, paradigm shifts in Maldives are easy to make. What lies ahead is this coalitions ability to present itself to the public in coming months.

  11. If Waheed coalition wins, MDP and PPM (the two largest parties in their own right) will not allow Waheed to run government with a majority DRP influence. It is also very likely the coalition will soon break due to DRP's stronger influence over other coalition partners. Waheed will have no choice but to follow Thasmeen as he brings more people from DRP into the cabinet and government posts.

    If MDP wins, Waheed coalition along with DRP will split up, and probably join PPM as opposition during the next 5 years, thus repeating the same political situation of the first 3 years of MDP rule.

    If PPM wins, its 30 years back again and we are back to the same old fight post 2008.

    All party leaders are saying their decision are based on what is best for the country. But what i think they mean is they are doing what is best for them to come into power and isolate the other.

    None of these big parties are willing to work with each other or have the capacity to compromise for the greater good of this country.

  12. @ tsk tsk

    of PPMs registers 22,383 voters minus Umar supporters 7000+, would reduce PPM votes further to 15,000.

    Plus those who do not like Jameel being VP may drive their support under 10,000 (less then Adalath party.

    So PPM may end up 4th or even 5th.

  13. @aliwaleed on Sun, 12th May 2013 10:35 PM.
    None of them weren't any good men!
    How can they be any good women?

    It is gut feeling that this coalition would turn to shambles before it can get started.

    @Rationale on Mon, 13th May 2013 11:37 AM perhaps is the closest! Agree!

  14. @Ahmed: "None of these big parties are willing to work with each other or have the capacity to compromise for the greater good of this country...." Quite a revealing statement...

    Sadly, the hard realities of political power have taken a few of us back to Earth from the paradise of idealistic hope and the dream of social justice Anni once gave us. Yes, the power brokers from Maumoon's team told us from the beginning that we were incredibly stupid to hope for the impossible. But that was very cruel and arrogant of them to treat us as though we were completely ignorant. If THEY were intelligent, they would have understood our pain, and expressed compassion on our need. We were powerless, oppressed, emotionally paralyzed with fear, angry, desparate, our hearts NEEDED to believe that change was possible, or else we would have been very ill or given over to the violent despair of religious fundamentalism. Nobody in the circles of power has given us anything much to hope for or any reason to trust. The ruthless arrogance of the opposition has pushed our hearts deeper into the cycnical darkness of despair, it seems foolish not to live completely selfishly when any hope or care we have ever had has only been used, abused, and pissed on. Use or be used, or die... what a Grand LIFE!

    Hope needs to be re-awakened in a few of us, but, a more intelligent hope.

    Change takes many, many years to bring about, but it does happen, and it is not up to Anni to bring about those changes, it is up to you, to all of you.

    Just because we now know that motives and realities are not as they seem, does not mean we need to give up hope.

    Politically, perhaps the best we can do, is, knowing no party really cares for the people, is care for the people ourselves. We should patronize the rhetoric of the political party with the most socially-JUST ideals, knowing that they won't be able to deliver what they promise, and possibly promise it for the wrong motives, yet by patronizing their ideals, we can use their promises as a leverage against them once they are in power, and WE can force there to be AT LEAST a little idealism realized. To get twenty metres up, you have to push to get one hundred metres up, and so forth and so on.

  15. The country was slightly better off in 30 year regime than what we had experienced with the 3 years regime.

    This mean that PPM will be better option for us? I doubt that ?

    There is no politician who are seriously thinking for the benefit of the people and they all are behind money and power.

    People need to wake-up and learn from past experiences.

  16. To Minivan news:

    You are the best thing that ever happned to Maldives in 'my Opinion',but just take caution of how you are financed.Evil is evil , Good is Good,it's not so hard to differentiate!

  17. President Waheed and DRP can learn some good strategies from the recent Malaysia election.
    Like, give the Bangadesh workers who can speak Dhivehi Maldivian ID with the condition that they will vote for the government.

    There were more ways that helped the ruling government won the recent election.

    President, just give Malaysia PM a call and he will share some tricks that let you continue another 5 years term.

  18. Rozaina's self congratulations and self belief in their bloc is understandable as even the stupidest believe they are intelligent and to prove that just keep uttering nonsense and make a bigger fool of themselves. Just keep day dreaming poor lady.

  19. For the first time I agree with kuribee. No politician has the people in their minds. DRP with 22 thousand going behind 2000 members party is a joke. Unless of course there are great deals being made. Again forgetting the people of this country. Being greedy for more power n money that's what it is.


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