President claims MDP parliamentary majority as DRP MP Ali Waheed signs with MDP

Just a day after resigning from the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), MP Ali Waheed was last night welcomed to the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) by President Mohamed Nasheed, who claimed Waheed’s decision had handed the party a parliamentary majority and the capability to push ahead with proposed reforms.

Waheed, a former DRP deputy leader, yesterday signed up the party alongside Ahmed Assad ‘Adubarey’ and DRP Sports Wing Head, Hassan Shujau.

A senior MDP source told Minivan News that additional members of the party were talking with the MDP about signing, but were reluctant to abandon the troubled party in such a large group.

The opposition figures followed in the wake of former opposition MP Alhan Fahmy in an exodus to the other side of the country’s political divide.

DRP MPs including Ahmed Nihan, currently working closely alongside the Z-DRP faction of the opposition critical of party leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, claimed that the MPs were switching sides solely for financial payoffs, though an MDP official insisted no such transactions had taken place.

However, dismissed DRP Deputy Leader Umar Naseer has submitted a case to the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) accusing the MDP of bribing opposition MPs to join the party.

Speaking during the rally held at Male’s artificial beach last night, Waheed reportedly accepted that he had criticised the president and the MDP in the past, but said that he now stood with them nonetheless.

“I was one of the strongest critics of President Nasheed,” he was reported as saying in newspaper Haveeru. “But I am right here at this podium; being able to criticise everyone is one of the fundamental aspects of democracy.”

Addressing the crowds afterwards, President Nasheed reportedly said that Ali Waheed would be welcomed to the party and could potentially take a senior position within the party following his switch.

Nasheed talked of the significance of having a political majority for the MDP and claimed that the party’s influence on parliament would need to be used responsibly and with respect to others in the Majlis.

Waheed along with DRP spokesperson Ibrahim ‘Mavota’ Shareef and opposition leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali were unavailable for comment when contacted by Minivan News this morning.

Shareef has previously acknowledged that Waheed had served as a rising star in the DRP, and his loss would be a “great blow”.

Changing political landscape

The recent election of another former opposition MP – Alhan Fahmy – to the deputy leadership of the ruling party may be a key factor in luring ambitious MPs from the troubled opposition. However if rumours of money changing hands proved true, several MDP members have privately expressed concern that this risked unsettling grassroots members loyal to the ruling party from the beginning.

Further discontent is likely on the islands among those constituents who voted for a party, rather than the MP.

The MDP also risks importing potential skeletons into the party along with the MP, such as the case with former Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) MP Hassan Adhil who is currently under house arrest and facing charges of child molestation.

Furthermore, the departure of MPs loyal to Thasmeen’s faction will place further pressure on the more prosaic side of the opposition, limiting its ability to resist the leadership ambitions of Gayoom’s far less compromising ‘Z-Faction’ and risks greater destabilisation of the opposition.

The MDP has however struggled to pass legislation in the opposition-majority parliament, and is fervently seeking to tip the balance in its favour and gain control of the legislature to push through difficult bills such as the revised penal code, evidence bill, and income tax for people earning over Rf30,000.

Taking control of parliament is a major victory for both the MDP and the government, and potentially marks the end of the ‘scorched earth’ politics in the Majlis that led to the en-masse resignation of cabinet ministers in July last year.

While the Maldives has a presidential system of government on paper, the constitution hands significant powers to parliament – particularly oversight of independent institutions. Control of the voting floor gives the MDP levers with which to address the challenges facing the judiciary and independent institutions in the country.


11 thoughts on “President claims MDP parliamentary majority as DRP MP Ali Waheed signs with MDP”

  1. Umar Naseer when is your case of using fake forms to increase the number of members of your former party IDP going to be filed in ACC. Corrupt person going against corruption. what a joke!

  2. In this article authored jontly by Neil and JJ, I am dissappointed that a large part has been simply copied and pasted from a previous article on this website.

  3. im disappointed that there was no confetti and background dance music in this article.

  4. Happy to hear Nasheed's vision about taxation in last nights speech. It shows that Nasheed understands that representative democracy will work only after the tax system is firmly in place.

    Only tax makes a citizens a stakeholder of the country. So far DRP has been against taxation. This would prove suicidal for DRP in 2013

  5. Ali Waheed is a great person for MDP now.. Before he was a mad cow for MDP. Anni would know better how much he was paid, shame on MDP and Ali Waheed. Would have been ok if he went really for nothing and resigned from Parliament too... But its the otherway round. He was well paid

  6. What kind of democracy is this? You get vote from the Maldivian public to be selected as an MP while you are in one party and then when selected, you jump on to another party because of selfishness and greed. Mr Ali Waheed, what about the trust of those maldivians who voted for you? This is not democracy. If you change party like this, you should lose the MP seat becase the people who voted for you to become an MP did so because you were a DRP candidate at that time. And now that you are in MDP, I think its the people of maldives who has to have the right first to have you the title of MP yet. Certainly you have the right to change your candidacy with any party you want, but surely the Maldivians have the right to choose when to honour you with MP (with their votes). You cannot become an MP in the name of DRP misusing the maldivians votes and then jump onto DRP liek that. Thats just not right. The maldivians might not have voted for you if you were asking for votes as an MDP memeber in the begining.

  7. He needs to get paid well. All professional politicians do in democracy.Just need a big mouth and tolerance to face embarrassment. After all you may win the jackpot.

  8. Today is the day he proved he is shameless shameless shameless after all. like all those others. includin dat tiny miniature of a man, alhan fahmy. Majlis members likes to asks candidates they get to interview, "Has there been in an instance where anyone has had a chance to question your integrity?" Maybe you bunch should ask each other that yourself before you question anybody else's integrity. OR why bother questioning integrity at all, when clearly its not a problem. oooh i get it, you ask so you would know people like yourself and give your votes to them. understood!

  9. Actually a lot of his constituents have joined MDP. Hence in that sense, one can't really shout at Ali Waheed, though it is funny he joined MDP after saying this government is delibarately being bad to the citizens.

  10. I, personally, will never vote for any election this country ever has.

    The process grants no sense of ownership and no guarantees to the us regular people.

    Go back to the old dictatorship. Appoint whomever you like and run the country by fist and fire. Just stop these disgusting rants about democracy and people. The constant stinging of bile is an irritant we would rather forgo.


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