The Maldives Trade Union (MTU) has joined with opposition parties in defence of the Constitution, suggesting that persistent violations have “eroded crucial checks and balances and accountability mechanisms”.
“The government’s actions have undermined the Constitution, allegations of corruption are left un-investigated, the auditor general has been removed along with two Supreme Court judges,” said MTU President Fuad Zahir.
“All of this is ruining the business confidence and is eroding the guarantees for justice and order.”
The MTU was inaugurated in May 2014, with 180 members aiming to provide an independent voice for the protection of small and medium-sized businesses.
Zahir formed the group after clashing with authorities over the new tax regime – introduced by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) government. He was investigated the the Prosecutor General’s Office last year for tax evasion.
The opposition MDP and the Jumhooree Party (JP) held a third round of discussions at Maafannu Kunooz last night, agreeing to officially sign a document concerning their joint efforts to defend the Constitution.
Speaking to press after the discussions, JP deputy leader Ibrahim Ameen said an official agreement would be signed by the two parties on Thursday (January 5) at a special ceremony, while a joint public rally will be held that night.
He also thanked MTU for its council’s decision to join the parties in the “cause of defending the constitution”, inviting all individuals, NGOs, and political parties “willing to sincerely work for the cause”.
Ameen also thanked the Adhaalath Party for “expressing willingness” to join the MDP and JP and expressed hope that the party would join the “all-party talks”.
“Adhaalath Party has always played a crucial role in all national issues that this country has faced”, Ameen said.
Adhaalath’s council this week announced it had decided against joining discussions, claiming “no such talks were found to be of use for the time being”.
The party, which has just one MP in the 85-seat Majlis has been considered an unofficial partner in the ruling Progressive Coalition, which now directly controls 49 seats in the house after MDP MP Yamin Rasheed defected to Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).
Last night MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed stated that the activities that would be carried out under the new agreement which would be revealed to the public next week, while the agreement itself would be accessible to the public.
“This is the point at which Maldivian people should cross the border of fear and come out,” said the MDP chairperson, claiming that this government’s intention was to narrow civil liberties like the freedom of speech and expression.
He also condemned the arrest of the editor of the MDP’s ‘Moonlight’ newsletter editor, Lucas Jalyl, who was arrested by police near Kunooz yesterday.
Jalyl was released earlier today after having allegedly obstructed police officers from carrying out their duties.
Meanwhile, the Maldives Development Alliance MP Mohamed Ismail has released a statement calling on the JP and its leader MP Gasim Ibrahim to “save yourselves from President [Mohamed] Nasheed’s deceitful web of lies”.
The 2008 alliance between Nasheed’s MDP and the JP lasted less than one month, while the JP’s involvement in the ruling Progressive Coalition lasted around six months.
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