MDP would consider halting protests for “substantial” high-level talks

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said it will not rule out halting ongoing protests to facilitate fresh “high-level talks” with its political rivals, but would only do so should it see  “substantial” commitments from government-aligned parties.

President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s government meanwhile stated it will not consider reconvening talks between senior politicians and former President Mohamed Nasheed until he ceases the alleged “harassment” and “threats of violence” against its ministers.

Proposed “Roadmap” talks were launched in February with the stated aim of overcoming the political deadlock resulting from the controversial transfer of power that brought President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan into office. Former President Nasheed and his party  continue to allege that Waheed came to power in  a “coup d’etat” – and that the government is illegitimate.

Convenor of the roadmap talks, Ahmed Mujuthaba, on July 12 announced that a series of “high-level” discussions will be held between President Waheed and the leaders of the country’s man political parties after 16 previous attempts had resulted in “no breakthrough.”

The last round of the UN-mediated talks, held at Vice President Waheed Deen’s Bandos Island Resort and Spa in early June, collapsed after parties aligned with the government presented the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) with a list of 30 demands.

The list included calls that the MDP “stop practising black magic and sorcery”, “stop the use of sexual and erotic tools”, and “not walk in groups of more than 10”.

MDP MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor told Minivan News today that while the party’s protests that it maintains are “largely peaceful” were “totally within” the law, it would not be a “big deal” to stop the street demonstrations if it would help secure meaningful talks.

However, Ghafoor claimed that the party was ultimately sceptical over the commitment of government-aligned parties to ensure “substantial” and “worthwhile” dialogue.

“We have always maintained dialogue is the best way to proceed in the current situation,” he claimed. “What we have seen in the last party talks has just been ridiculous demands such as the issues about keeping crows and using black magic. We found out as a party that we are not dealing with serious people.”

According to documents said to have been provided to the international community by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, former President Nasheed has over the last week offered to stop ongoing street demonstrations to facilitate high level talks – but only if certain conditions are met by his political rivals.

The conditions stated in the document include addressing possible outcomes of the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) presently investigating the events during and leading up to February’s transfer of power.  The CNI has been given a deadline of the end of August to concludes its report.

The MDP is also said to have requested allowing only the participation of parties with an elected parliamentary representative to attend the talks.  Such a condition would effectively rule out the participation of President Waheed.

Speaking to Minivan News today, President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza claimed that the government had been attempting since February 16 this year to hold high-level talks with the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to facilitate talks on resolving the current political situation.

However, he denied that the government had called for an end to the MDP’s ongoing protests, claiming instead that it was more concerned by the alleged “unlawful” behaviour of opposition supporters such as in the “harassment” of government officials during demonstrations in recent weeks.

“There has been harassment on several occasions of late by the MDP,” he claimed. “The government will not yield to threats of violence.”

Abbas claimed that in negotiating over continuing potential talks, the government had also refused to negotiate regarding addressing any potential outcomes of the CNI.

“Nasheed has continued to insist on doing this,” he claimed. “But we have said that we refuse to interfere with the country’s judiciary.   We have been clear that we will not negotiate on the CNI or do anything that may compromise its work.”

In a statement released last week, the government called for Nasheed and his supporters to stop “violent activities” in order to ensure any high-level  talks could conclude “fruitfully”.

“Former President Nasheed’s supporters have been agitating and protesting on the streets at times with violent incidences for the past two weeks,” the statement read. “He and his supporters have been harassing government officials for the past five months indulging in violent attacks including the burning of the gender minister’s car, a police motorcycle and a newly constructed police building.”

Foreign Ministry view

According to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefing, discussions took place last Thursday, (July 26) between Ahmed Mujuthaba, President Waheed and UN Resident Coordinator Andrew Cox to convey a message that Nasheed would conditionally agree to end the MDP protests.

According to the document, the conditions set by the MDP required high level talks to resume at the “highest Level”, with the discussions taking into account the outcomes of the CNI’s findings on top of the existing six-point agenda set for the all-party talks.

The government was said to have responded the following day with five conditions that included:

  • All talks are held in the Maldives
  • The nine parties previously involved in the talks should continue to take part
  • Participants must be at the level of party deputy leaders or higher
  • The previous six-point agenda remained in place without adding the CNI to the discussion or anything that might “influence” its conclusions
  • The MDP agree in writing not to continue street protests for a “period of time” before talks resume

The briefing document claimed the MDP responded by calling on the government to only allow political parties with a parliamentary representation in the discussions. The opposition party said it would then put a stop to ongoing protests that have taken place over the last few weeks once talks continued.

The opposition party also said to have called for any agreed agenda to include the outcomes of the CNI.

By Sunday (July 29), the government was claimed to have responded that talks between the MDP and coalition parties be conducted on the basis of a “two-track” system based around political discussions and parliament.  The government also called for all parties including the MDP to refrain from holding protests.

The proposal was also said to have called for the agenda on the previous all party talks to remain unchanged, with the MDP addressing any issues regarding the CNI through parliament.


12 thoughts on “MDP would consider halting protests for “substantial” high-level talks”

  1. Maumoon Gayoom is not going to talk because he will fail at it.. he knows only to control thugs and ruin the peace for the country and torture people... he is out of date

  2. there will be a hidden agenda by Nasheed and he is one who can not be trusted on his words. He had proven that his promises and actions will go into two different direction in the past.

    If Anni genuinely want to have the peace in this country , then it is good but i doubt it. Lets see .

  3. MDP, would consider ???- my foot,
    who gives a damn whether you brainwashed people would consider or not.
    Seyku Nasheed and the rest of the politicians have done enough so what is there to consider???
    No body is considering anything!!

  4. Shimy recently you started using this word "brainwashed" did you try to find a proper definition for the word ? I think you are more brainwashed than any other commenter in here. I cant be wrong about where you learned the word. Ill keep it for myself.

  5. A very good report all-in-all and sincere thanks to Minivans team for providing a downloadable copy of the MFA's brief.

    The main area of contention appears to be Nasheed's insistence on including the "possible outcome" of CoNI's findings in the discussions.

    The government and its advisers would consider the Conservative Party's aims in this area. On the one hand it could mean shaping CoNI's findings in such a way to allow Nasheed to contest elections when they are held. Or something else altogether.

    Another point is obvious here for the less-informed readers. That the MDP's street protests are their main remaining bargaining chip. Some might find this hard to digest given the apparent irresponsibility of a political party in terrorizing the streets and public life in order to have their demands met. But such is Maldivian politics.

    The items on the agenda of the All Party Talks can truly yield beneficial outcomes for the general public as well. Especially in the area of institutional and legislative reforms. Addressing shortcomings in the set up of the judiciary as well as police and defense forces is vital for our State to continue functioning. Also any meaningful effort at reform should constrain the powers of the President in a reasonable manner to prevent Parliament knee-jerk high-handedness from getting out of hand like it did during Nasheed's term in office.

  6. This is a never ending loop. MDP stops majlis. Then when the scales tip, the DRP will choke the country. THe scales tip again.

    Meanwhile, everybody, who has any clout, in between transitions will have hoarded anything crossing his path.

  7. @ Shimy

    Well Shimy. The person you call Seyku Nasheed did this for our people:

    1. Free health insurance for all
    2. Pension for all people from 60 years
    3. Inter atoll /island transport network
    4. Reduced electricity costs to the people in the islands
    5. Reformed the school curriculum
    6. Opened a Polytechnic for skills training
    7. Launched a nationwide skills training programme for our unemployed
    Currently over 60,000
    8. Brought landmark economic reform to support a more just and equal society
    9. Pushed for major reforms in the Bank of Maldives which has just declared a profit
    10. The state trading organisation declared massive profits
    11. Maldives gas showed a profit after been in deficit from its inception
    12. Maldives Fuel Supply showed a profit
    13. Increased revenue from the airports
    14. Legal reform for the justice system, social protection of the vulnerable submitted to parliament
    15. Income support for the vulnerable, single mothers, people with special needs, and those needing specialist medical care abroad
    16. Freedom in the media
    17. Pruned as much as it was possible a civil service that was costing 80% of the services that the civil service manages.
    18. Brought landmark reform in the higher education system expanding finance for student and partnering private tertiary institutions.
    19. A nationwide programme for small and medium business enterprise, supporting small businesses with soft loans training and mentoring.
    20. Investment in housing for our homeless. Property development deals secured with investors, , plans drawn, foundations laid, and in some, construction started and ongoing.
    And a lot more. These are just the big ones.

    What is so amazing about his achievements is that he did this with a civil service, justice system and a parliament for much of those three years led by Gayoom loyalists doing everything they possibly could do to sabotage, delay, and mismanage President Nasheed's programmes.

    This is FACT.

    Now let’s see what did that has been cruised?

    1. Nasheed's corporatisation programme which had from what we hear, illiterate uneducated incompetent people on their Boards, presumably for political advantage

    2. The outsource of management of Male(now Ibrahim Nasir) International Airport

    3. Detention of a corrupt judge when the courts would not allow the judicial services commission which is the constitutional regulatory body of the judicial system to take action against the judge who was out of control and violated the rights of the victims of paedophiles, rapists, murderers, gangsters, drug dealers he released no sooner than their cases entered his court.

    4. The detention of two politicians in the” I want some cash...” scandal. A case that has to date not been investigated

    5. For downscaling civil servants enumeration packages, which was demanded by the IMF in return for the IMF to release the funds fiord Nasheed’s government to pay off the massive debts left behind by President Gayoom.

    6. And Oh yes accusation of corruption. Cases which have not in these three years been sent to a court.

    7. Starting projects that were not seen through properly and mismanaged. The questioned I want to ask is, mismanaged by who? Politicans make policy, civil service deliver. So if you really want to point fingers at the mismanagement of government, start looking at the Civil Service Commission which has been remote control managed by Gayoom. That we ALL know. So please... spare us the dramatics.
    The whole world knows what President Nasheed did for his people in the short three years he ruled. If you can’t see what he did, then I am clear that your interest is on you and what you are benefitting from the patronage of Gayoom and his associates.

  8. He MDP are reaching out for peace despite being forced from office by the gun, respect.

  9. stop replyin to this girl who were commentin here on the name LOL. she ask me to look what these people do on this website. she and her boyfriend wnet on holiday. im her flat mate. we always make fun of kutti nasheed. im afraid she will not see your replies. will tell them when they come back.

  10. @Ayya
    good biased information, i suppose when the whole nation is on the verge of going down the drain with bankruptcy??!!


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