The Jumhoree Party (JP) has ruled out forming a coalition with fellow government-aligned parties ahead of presidential elections scheduled for September this year, despite its reported involvement in recent power sharing talks with President Dr Mohamed Waheed.
JP Spokesman Moosa Ramiz today told Minivan News that the party was not looking to form a coalition before the elections. He also slammed politicians that did not belong to the JP speaking on its behalf about possible coalition agreements.
Ramiz’s comments were made in response to reports in local media this week claiming Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) member Umar Naseer was conducting talks to form a coalition of various parties, including the JP, behind President Waheed.
Naseer told Sun Online that a so-called “broad coalition” was being discussed to help secure a first round election victory against the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate Mohamed Nasheed.
Former PPM Deputy Leader Naseer, who last month mounted an unsuccessful bid to become the party’s presidential candidate, was present during discussions held at the official residence of President Waheed on Tuesday (April 16) night – fuelling uncertainty over his own future political allegiance.
Naseer was this week given an ultimatum by the government-aligned PPM to ‘reform and realign’ with the party’s charter or face expulsion after he accused MP Abdulla Yameen – his sole rival in the party’s recent presidential primary – of “rigging” the vote in his favour.
After refusing to defend himself during a PPM disciplinary committee hearing this week into his comments, Naseer has told local media that he would be revealing his future political plans tomorrow (April 19).
PPM MP and Spokesperson Ahmed Mahloof was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press today. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Umar Naseer this week said that he would not give any interviews to Minivan News.
Naseer has told local media following the meeting at President Waheed’s residence that discussions had been held with numerous parties over forming a coalition. He added that the PPM was welcome to join any such alliance of parties. Also pictured at the meeting was JP Leader and presidential candidate MP Gasim Ibrahim.
However, JP Spokesperson Ramiz today slammed Naseer for speculating about another party’s plans, while also rejecting any suggestion it would seek to stand during the elections in a coalition.
“My brief answer would be that we are not going to do this [form a coalition ahead of elections],” he said. “What right has Umar Naseer got to speak about the plans of a party he is not a member of?”
According to the JP website, Gasim Ibrahim said today that he would not consider becoming the running mate of any other presidential candidate.
Amidst reported talks to form a so-called broad coalition behind the current president, the fellow government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) today said it refused to comment on potential presidential elections campaigns or comments made by other parties in the run up to the election.
Speaking to Minivan News, DRP Deputy Leader Dr Abdulla Mausoom claimed that unlike other political parties in the country, it was the only party that had not changed its actions or political positions over the last three to five years.
Without mentioning any specific names, Mausoom alleged that senior political figures in the country who had changed their positions and even political allegiances numerous times over the last half decade were a key contributor to a perceived loss of faith among the public in the country’s elected representatives.
Addressing rumours of the efforts to form a coalition behind the current president, opposition MDP MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor meanwhile said he believed that there had been a shift in the country’s political allegiances in recent weeks ahead of September’s elections.
According to Ghafoor, this shift had lead to the formation of two separate factions in the coalition government of President Waheed, which MDP supporters maintain was brought to power in a “coup d’etat” after former President Nasheed resigned from office following a mutiny by sections of the police and military.
“We are seeing strong lines being drawn between those who backed the coup, and those opposing it,” he said. “There is a regrouping into two factions of the current dictatorship, then there is us.”
Ghafoor claimed that in the current political climate, the MDP was itself committed to trying to reach a transitional arrangement where the majority of members in parliament would believe it was in their interest to remove President Waheed from office – thereby facilitating early elections.
Despite the MDP’s aims, the government-aligned Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) (DQP) this month formally entered into a coalition with the President’s own Gaumee Iththihaadh Party (GIP) ahead of the elections.
Both the DQP and GIP are small political parties currently facing potential dissolution for lacking the minimum requirement of 10,000 members as stipulated in the recently passed Political Parties Act.
DQP Leader and President Waheed’s Special Advisor Dr Hassan Saeed claimed this week that all political parties, except the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), were welcome to join the coalition.
Dr Saeed was not responding to calls from Minivan News today.
The religious conservative Adhaalath Party has also publicly pledged its support to President Waheed, last month announcing plans to form a coalition with the GIP.