The main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) will vote against approving the reappointment of Dr Ibrahim Didi as Fisheries Minister, DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali declared today.
Dr Didi, newly-elected President of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), was appointed Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture by President Mohamed Nasheed this morning, one year after Dr Didi resigned along with the entire cabinet.
Speaking to press outside parliament today, Minority Leader Thasmeen said that the DRP decided not to endorse the appointment as Dr Didi was among seven ministerial appointees who did not receive parliamentary consent in November.
The DRP Leader argued that Dr Didi “lacked sincerity” for accepting the post after pledging to devote all his time to managing the party in his campaign for the MDP presidency.
“What he said [during the campaign] implied that persons in high posts could not sufficiently fulfill the responsibilities of the MDP presidency,” Thasmeen said. “What he said also implied that he would not accept a senior post that would make it difficult to work [as MDP president].”
Thasmeen urged “other opposition parties working with us” to vote with the DRP to reject Dr Didi’s reappointment.
Asked whether the party would approve the President’s nominee for Defence Minister, Tholhath Ibrahim, Thasmeen said that a decision would be made after evaluation by committee.
Dr Didi’s case was meanwhile “a matter of principle” as his appointment had already been rejected: “We do not accept the President appointing someone parliament has already rejected.”
The DRP MP for Kendhoo noted that the party had voted against the reappointment of former Attorney General Dr Ahmed Ali Sawad for a second time.
Speaking to Minivan News today, Dr Didi said that the stated reasons for the DRP’s decision not to endorse his appointment was “completely without substance.”
“For the leader of the DRP to raise the issue on behalf of the MDP is questionable,” he said. “Is Thasmeen a member of the MDP?”
Dr Didi added that MDP members would not object to his reappointment as the decision was made by President Nasheed, “who is the leader of the MDP.”
Acting MDP Chairperson “Reeko” Moosa Manik has meanwhile congratulated Dr Didi on his reappointment to the cabinet.
Dr Didi insisted that his acceptance of the post did not contradict any campaign pledges.
“What I said was that I would not accept any political post that would hinder my work as MDP president,” he explained. “I was at the MDP office even this afternoon.”
He added that the ministerial duties would not create “any difficulty” to management of the party: “I’m the one who would know how I should plan my time.”
The DRP’s decision not to approve the President’s nominees was “very irresponsible,” Didi continued, as “they have not given a substantial reason for the rejection.”
Didi dismissed Thasmeen’s contention that the decision to reject the reappointment was a question of principle: “By ‘principles’ what he really means is ‘politics,'” he said.
“[When parliament rejected seven ministers in November] they were not able to show any evidence that I had failed to perform my duties as a minister” he stressed. “None of the reasons they have given relate to my performance [as former Fisheries Minister].”
The government wanted to work with “a strong and competitive opposition,” said Didi, “but the lack of such an opposition party continues to pose many serious challenges for us.”