Coalition talks have been finalised between the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) ahead of next month’s presidential elections.
Following local media reports, PPM MP Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News that, after many meetings regarding the proper alignment of the parties, the details of the arrangement had been successfully negotiated.
“We have no more details at the moment,” said Nihan. “There will be an official announcement soon.” He added that the details would also include plans for cooperation heading into next year’s parliamentary elections – scheduled for May.
The PPM and MDA currently have 22,660 and 7,904 members, respectively, whilst the former is currently the second largest party in the Majlis, behind the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).
The MDA’s decision to find a coalition partner was announced earlier this month. The party’s legitimacy has come under threat this year as the People’s Majlis passed legislation requiring all registered political parties to have a minimum of 10,000 members.
The MDA is the country’s newest political party having been founded last year by Ahmed ‘Sun Travel’ Shiyam, Managing Director of both Sun Travel Investments Pvt and Sun Travel and Tours Pvt. Shiyam’s party will now throw its support behind PPM Presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen.
The news of an MDA-PPP alliance has prompted the resurfacing of documents on social media regarding transactions between the STO and Sun Investments between 2003 and 2005.
Yameen, half-brother of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was also head of the State Trading Organisation (STO) between 1990 and 2006. The state owned STO is charged with sustainably supplying food and fuel to the Maldives.
In 2010, an asset tracing investigation into the STO’s accounts by forensic accountancy firm Grant Thornton revealed the use of interest-free loans to Sun Investments, amongst others, in order to acquire foreign currency.
“Loans were granted in Maldivian Ruﬁyaa on the basis of loans being repaid in US dollars,” read the report.
“These loans were given by keeping as security post dated cheques dated up to three months in advance. However most of these cheques according to the STO audit report were replaced by other post dated cheques just before they fell due and continued to be rolled over in this manner.”
Whilst the report did note that the cheques worth MVR112,731,250 were eventually repaid, the cost to the STO in lost interest was estimated by Grant Thornton to have been up to US$1 million.