The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has strongly condemned a resolution adopted by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) national council yesterday calling for Jumhooree Party (JP) Leader Gasim Ibrahim to assume the presidency as an interim leader.
The ruling party slammed the move as “irresponsible and cowardly” in a press statement released last night.
“At a time when the government is carrying out swift efforts to resolve the water shortage in Malé, this party believes that the [MDP resolution] is an activity planned by the MDP leadership to cause loss of the country’s peace and security as well as the unity among Maldivians at this juncture,” read the statement.
The PPM also characterised the national council decision as an “undemocratic and uncivilised” attempt to topple a legitimately elected government.
The press statement praised the efforts of President Yameen’s administration and the ministerial task force to normalise the water supply crisis in the capital and declared the party’s “full confidence” in the president.
At an emergency session yesterday, the MDP national council voted 36-2 in favour – with four abstentions – of a resolution proposed by former President Mohamed Nasheed to back Gasim as interim president.
Nasheed contended that President Yameen has failed to perform his duties, was “ruling in absentia” and criticised his response to the ongoing water supply crisis.
The government has also failed to curb gang violence, he continued, noting that a 28-year-old man being stabbed to death the previous night.
Asked about the MDP’s resolution at a press conference yesterday, President Yameen said it was up to the people to change the government.
“Handing over the government to the Jumhooree Party leader or MDP’s leader has to be done when there is a vacancy for some reason,” he said.
“I don’t pay much attention to such talk by President Nasheed.”
Yameen claimed that the MDP government sold shares from the Malé Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) to Japan’s Hitachi Plant Technology for US$16 million after buying it back for US$19 million.
Yameen said he had objected to the sale as an opposition MP at the time.
However, the Nasheed administration sold 20 percent of the company’s shares to Hitachi for US$16 million in January 2010 at US$ 305.90 per share.
In late 2008, the government bought back 24 percent of MWSC share’s from Denmark’s HOH Water Technology for US$19 million at the same share price.
Members of the MDP national council meanwhile noted that President Yameen was elected with the backing of Gasim and the JP.
After initially announcing that the party would remain neutral, the JP’s council decided to endorse Yameen three days before the second round of the presidential polls on November 16 last year. In the first round revote, Gasim had finished in third place with 23.37 percent of the vote.
However, the JP’s coalition agreement with the PPM was severed by the latter after Gasim stood for the post of parliament speaker.