The minister of economic development and two MPs have left the Jumhooree Party (JP) to join the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).
Cabinet member Mohamed Saeed was joined by Milandhoo MP Hassan Mufeed Abdul Qadir and Nolhivaram MP Hussain Areef.
The three members confirmed the switch at a function held at Muleeaage in the presence of President Abdulla Yameen, PPM leader and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and the party’s deputy leader Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb.
“I don’t think anyone would want to be stuck in a political dispute for five years of their lives, no citizen would want that, and i can see that President Yameen’s government developing the Maldives,” Saeed said.
After signing for the party, Saeed said he had joined the PPM to make use of the opportunity to develop the nation in the coming five years through Yameen’s government, assuring that he was not pressured by the government to sign.
He added that he has also not received any pressure from the JP to stay with them.
The election coalition between the PPM and JP crumbled late last month after both parties decided to field candidates for the position of the Majlis speaker.
Earlier this month, Environment Minister Thoriq Ibrahim also transferred from the JP to the PPM. The only remaining JP minister in the cabinet is Home Minister Umar Naseer, currently the subject of disobedience to order charges in the Criminal Court.
MP Mufeed last night said he joined PPM upon requests from many of his constituents.
“The message [constituents] are giving to me right now, through phone calls and other means is; ‘we want your service in your term to be carried out in collaboration with the ruling party’. So, since i was elected by their votes, in response to their requests I also wanted to join the ruling party’,” Mufeed explained his decision to switch parties.
Nolhivaram MP Areef said that he had switched parties because he was confident that joining the ruling party would speed up development and assistance for his constituency.
Speaking at yesterday’s ceremony, however, President Abdulla Yameen affirmed that his government would continue to provide services for everyone regardless of their MP’s affiliation, though he noted that development would slow without a Majlis majority.
“In obtaining loans to acquire funds for the state, regardless of how low the [interest] rates are, we have to go to the Majlis [for approval],” said the president.
“So when we have a clear majority in the People’s Majlis, when we have such conveniences to serve the people,we can pass [the loans] from the Majlis Finance Committee, and also it would be easier to pass motions on the Majlis floor as well.”
With this latest transfer of MPs, the PPM has 40 representatives in the 85 member People’s Majlis. Earlier four of the five independently elected MPs, as well as opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mohamed Musthafa, also switched to the president’s party.
With these developments, the current parliament composition consists of 25 MDP seats, 40 PPM seats, 5 seats for the Maldives Development Alliance, one for the Adhaalath Party, and 13 seats held by the JP.
Madaveli MP Muaz Mohamed Rasheed remains the only independent member of the Majlis.
This gives the ruling Progressive Coalition a clear majority of forty five with coalition member MDA’s five seats. Adhaalath Party which was excluded from the coalition’s seat allocation plan for the parliamentary elections also considers itself to be part of the coalition, but PPM has confirmed that no coalition agreement has ever existed between the two parties.