President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan this morning met with Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Parliamentary Group leader Ibrahim Mohamed ‘Ibu’ Solih, who has been representing the party at the India-sponsored all-party roadmap talks.
While a seven-point agenda – including the subject of early elections – was established during the roadmap talks, the order of preference was not, and the talks subsequently stalled with the withdrawal of the Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP), Jumhoree Party (JP), Adhaalath Party (AP), and the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) following MDP’s disruption of Dr Waheed’s address to parliament.
The MDP has also been holding separate, closed-door talks with the DRP, after previously challenging the involvement of parties such as the PPM and AP, which it argued had no electoral mandate. Together the DRP and MDP control a two-thirds majority of parliament, capable of forcing through legislation, constitutional amendments and even impeachments.
In a statement to the media on Wednesday following his meeting with Dr Waheed, Solih said “I don’t believe the former Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed is willing to seek an agreement, that both parties can agree to through peaceful dialogue.”
Solih said the MDP was “concerned” about the current state of political affairs in the Maldives, and contended that despite criticism to the contary, had attended all meetings requested by the current administration “and worked hard to find a peaceful solution [to the current political crisis].”
“No progress” was made in the meeting with Waheed, the party stated.
“It is disappointing that former Vice President, Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik does not seem prepared to find a peaceful means to achieve a solution that is acceptable to all,” said Solih.
Dr Waheed’s Press Secretary Masood Imad referred Minivan News to Dr Waheed’s spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza, who was not responding at time of press.
Speaker of the Majlis Abdulla Shahid meanwhile declared that parliament would reconvene on Monday March 19, despite the failure to reach an agreement with the MDP. The party’s MPs barricaded themselves inside the chamber on March 1, preventing Shahid from entering and Dr Waheed from giving the presidential address.
That evening, Shahid held a press conference and announced he had cancelled the session because he was unable enter the chamber despite several attempts, and on one occasion had fallen and injured himself. Given the current political tensions, Shahid said he was unable to guarantee the safety of members and had decided to proceed through negotiation, rather than force.
MDP has not made any official announcements on what it plans to do, however one grassroots MDP supporter said following the failure of negotiations, the party would continue to block “the coup leader” from addressing parliament.