Minister of Education Dr Mustafa Luthfy and Deputy Trade Minister Ahmed Inaz yesterday left the Gaumy Ihthihaadh Party (GIP) to join the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).
Last week the MDP National Council announced it was tearing up its coalition agreement with GIP, and requested President Mohamed Nasheed remove all GIP ministers from public office. Economic Minister Mohamed Rasheed was sacked several weeks ago amid ongoing tension between the two parties.
Dr Luthfy, who was deputy leader of GIP, said he joined MDP not because he had been influenced or under threat of losing his job, but because he felt that it was “the best way to continue serving the people.”
”I discussed it with GIP Leader Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik before taking the decision,” Dr Luthfy said. ”He said it was sad, but said to do as I wished.”
Dr Luthfy said he did not condone criticising the government while he was a member of it.
”I do not know whether GIP might join the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP),” Dr Luthfy said, ”but I noticed that during a recent GIP rally held at Giyasudeen School, a lot of DRP members attended.”
He said that there was no split between the government and GIP, and that the tensions were rather between the two parties.
”The President told me I could stay in the position as an a individual,” he said, ”but I preferred to join MDP of my own wish.”
He said that MDP had invited him to join the party on several different occasions.
Vice President of the Maldives Dr Waheed Hassan Manik, who is also a key figure in GIP, said the decision by Luthfy and Inaz was their own and he had nothing to say.
He said their decision would not affect GIP and that he was not sad about it.
”[Luthfy and Inaz] discussed it with me,” he said. ”I told them to do as they wished.”
MDP Spokesperson Ahmed Haleem said both the Education Minister and Deputy Trade Minister had been serving the party unofficially long ago, in different ways.
”Now have they returned to where they belong,” Haleem said. ”It will be a progress for them.”
He claimed that GIP was now “close to joining DRP”.
”In my political experience I can say that it is very likely to happen,” he suggested.