The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has said its former coalition partner Jumhooree Party (JP) must initiate a new coalition, while the JP maintains the initial agreement is still valid.
Speaking to ‘Haveeru‘ Ahmed Adeeb – minister of tourism, co-chair of the cabinet’s Economic Council and PPM deputy leader has said the JP would have to express interest in forging another coalition with his party.
Blaming JP leader Gasim Ibrahim for ending the coalition, Adheeb said President Abdulla Yameen does not want to persecute political opponents or make statements about such issues.
Noting his respect for Gasim as a “generous” and “politically experienced” individual, Adeeb acknowledged the JP leader’s contribution helping the government to power, but stated that PPM would not allow anyone to pressure the government.
“We should be faithful to the votes people has given us. We should respect the opportunity to improve the economy given to PPM by the people. I am sure Gasim would also acknowledge [this]. And Gasim will also acknowledge that President Yameen will do no harm to him,” Adheeb was quoted as saying.
He told Haveeru that the opposition MDP had manipulated Gasim into believing that he could become the speaker of the parliament – the cause of the Progressive Coalition’s breakup last month.
Responding to Adeeb’s comments JP Secretary General Ahmed Sameer said the party still believes the initial coalition agreement is valid and will continue to respect the terms of that agreement.
“The coalition agreement was never abrogated, so there is no reason to form another coalition. I think what they [PPM] are saying is just a media stunt, there is no truth in it. It is sad that they have acted against the agreement [in purging political appointees in JP slots], but JP will continue to abide by it,” said Sameer.
He noted that the JP have not been informed about the abrogation of the initial coalition agreement.
“There have been no discussion with us about this and no formal communication of any sort,” Sameer said.
The fall out between the two parties became visible after the 18th People’s Majlis was elected and when both parties expressed interest in nominating candidates for the position of Majlis Speaker.
Despite the PPM’s warnings that the coalition agreement would be cancelled if JP proposed a candidate, party leader Gasim decided to stand for the position – eventually losing the ballot to the PPM candidate MP Abdulla Maseeh.
Soon after Gasim announced his candidacy PPM council unanimously passed a resolution announcing the coalition agreement had been “brought to an end by the Jumhooree Party”.
Within the week the government moved against political appointees belonging to JP removing and taking administrative action against them. One of the Cabinet ministers on a JP slot later signed for PPM.
JP has since accused PPM of not honoring the coalition agreement form the early days of coming to power, noting that the promised 35 percent stake in political appointees was not delivered.
The party claimed that only 29 slots were offered to them among as many as 300 positions. PPM has said that many of JP nominees had been unqualified.