The Jumhooree Party (JP) has officially left the Progressive Coalition with the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and has given leader Gasim Ibrahim the authority to make all decisions regarding actions needed to defend the Constitution.
“Jumhooree Party’s National Council agrees and decides to give all powers and authority to party leader Honourable Gasim Ibrahim in taking any course of action in cooperation of any party to defend the constitution of the Republic of Maldives”, said the unanimous JP Council motion yesterday (January 24).
At a press conference held on Saturday, JP Deputy Leader and former transport minister Ameen Ibrahim stated that the party had left the coalition due to the government’s repeated violations of the Constitution through the narrowing of basic rights and freedoms, and influencing independent state institutions.
Ameen was appointed transport minister following Abdulla Yameen’s election as president in November 2013, secured by the JP council’s decision to back him in the second round.
Following Gasim’s decision to stand against the PPM’s candidate for Majlis speaker last year, the PPM decided to unilaterally expel the JP from the ruling coalition – which also includes the Maldives Development Alliance.
A purge of JP ministers followed, with Ameen dismissed and two of the party’s cabinet members defecting to the former ally. Despite this, the JP maintained that the coalition agreement had not been fully terminated – expressing a willingness to continue discussions.
Ameen yesterday called on all political parties to discuss the steps that need to be taken to defend the Constitution, stating that the JP is willing to work with any party for that cause despite the potential threats and intimidation from the government to the party and its leader.
Minivan News was unable to obtain comment from the PPM at the time of publication.
Additionally, the JP council decided to remove Moosa Anwar from the post of party youth wing president yesterday. Anwar has pledged to contest the decision in the courts, saying it contravenes the JP’s constitution.
Spokesman for the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, has welcomed the JP’s decision to officially leave the coalition, saying that the party could not work with the current government.
“The government is unable to work within the framework of the Constitution of which the spirit is democratic and consultative,” said Ghafoor.
Ties between the MDP and the JP have grown closer in recent weeks, with former President Mohamed Nasheed pledging earlier this month to defend Gasim against government attacks.
Last week the MDP held a rally outside Gasim’s home to show solidarity with the leader and to defend the constitution, with JP Spokesman Ahmed Sameer expressing confidence that the MDP and JP could “travel on the same boat”.
Meanwhile, speaking to journalists on his return from an official trip to Abu Dhabi on Thursday (January 22), Nasheed urged President Yameen to abandon strict and arbitrary policies and actions against other political figures and to conduct official talks with all political parties.
“As soon as possible, even if possible tonight, I urge President Yameen to commence talks with all political parties, especially with the inclusion of President Maumoon [Abdul Gayoom] in the talks,” he said.
The President’s Office has reported today that Yameen met with former President Gayoom – also his half-brother – to discuss the current political situation as well as the government’s planned initiatives.
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