The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the Jumhooree Party (JP) have officially agreed to work together in defending the Constitution.
JP Vice President Ibrahim Ameen – who represented the party in talks held last night – described the meeting as “successful”, saying the parties agreed to cooperate in defence of the Constitution, both inside and outside of the Majlis.
An outline of the course of action was also reported to have been agreed upon, though Ameen refrained from revealing specific details.
The meeting represented the first official talks between opposition parties after MDP leader Mohamed Nasheed called for all-party talks last week, citing persistent breaches of the Constitution by President Abdulla Yameen’s government.
Earlier this week the JP officially severed its ties with the ruling Progressive Coalition – defunct since May last year, with party leader Gasim Ibrahim inviting all opposition parties for talks.
While MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed, Malé City Mayor Mohamed Shihab and former Majlis Speaker MP Abdulla Shahid participated in the talks on behalf of MDP last night, the JP was represented by Ameen, Dr Hussain Rasheed, MP Ali Hussein, and former Police Commissioner MP Abdulla Riyaz.
Minivan News was unable to obtain a comment from MDP Chairperson Waheed at the time of publication.
The JP has also invited the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) and the Adhaalath Party to the talks, despite the religious party being an unofficial member of the governing coalition.
DRP leader Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed confirmed to Minivan News that the party had received the invitation for all-party talks and said that the party council has not yet decided on the matter.
“We are working to schedule a council meeting today”, said Nasheed.
Adhaalath, which holds a single seat in the People’s Majlis, has received an invitation to future talks but has not yet decided on whether it will attend, the party revealed through its official twitter account yesterday.
JP Spokesman Ali Solih claimed today that Adhaalath has accepted the invitation, though they have not officially replied to it.
“As per Adhaalath’s regulations and internal mechanism, the party also will need to consult with relevant bodies. We are very optimistic that Adhaalath also will cooperate in the efforts to defend the constitution”, Ali Solih said.
Minivan News was unable to obtain a comment from Adhaalath as the party’s President Sheikh Imran Abdulla and Spokesman Sheikh Ali Zahir were not responding to calls.
The JP – which has 13 MPs in the 85-seat Majlis – this week voted through its national council to give leader Gasim Ibrahim the authority to make all decisions regarding actions needed to defend the Constitution.
The JP was officially aligned with the ruling PPM until Gasim’s decision to stand for the Majlis Speaker position, after having given crucial backing to Abdulla Yameen in the 2013 presidential race.
Unofficial talks were announced earlier this month between the JP and MDP, which holds 22 seats in the Majlis, while former President and MDP leader Nasheed has pledged to defend Gasim against government attacks.
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