The deputy leaders of ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and coalition partner Jumhooree Party (JP) have dismissed claims of rifts in the governing coalition.
JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim had previously expressed dissatisfaction by the PPM’s failure to consult coalition partners in compiling the budget. Gasim’s backing was crucial in securing the presidency for President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
Speaking on Sunday’s parliament sitting, the PPM’s Deputy Leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla stated that there are no disagreements within the coalition, claiming that the two parties worked “unitedly and amicably”.
“The fact that we won this year’s presidential election through this coalition is proof of the fact that people will not believe rumours you spread. It is useless efforts on the part of MDP to try to break up this coalition. God willing, we will reach the end of our five year term having fulfilled the pledges we made to Maldivian citizens,” he said, accusing the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of attempting to create discord within the coalition.
JP Deputy Leader Ilham Ahmed echoed party leader Gasim’s claims that PPM had failed to hold any discussions with the party regarding the state budget. However, he, too, confirmed no major disagreements existed between the two parties in the ruling coalition.
“We will do what is required of us to protect the current government. There are no issues between Jumhoori Party and PPM,” Ilham said, adding that the two parties will be working together in the upcoming local council and parliamentary elections.
Meanwhile, President Abdulla Yameen has previously expressed disapproval with coalition partner JP for submitting amendments to the budget proposed by the government, saying that coalition partners must let the main party in the alliance decide on the allocation of funds for various projects.
He said then that coalition members must not view the alliance as an opportunity to guarantee themselves what they want from within the government, nor should it be seen as a chance to bring out whatever number of candidates they wish to compete in an election.
“If at the initial stages, coalition partners themselves are to stand up and criticize every issue that arises about our proposal, I really do not see how I will be able to fulfill the people’s needs,” he said, adding that the government will not bear responsibility for unfulfilled pledges if any changes are brought to the budget.
In response, Gasim said: “I am both a coalition member and the Chair of the parliamentary committee tasked with budget review. And yet, we have had no suggestions or discussion from the government.”