Former President Mohamed Nasheed has criticised President Abdulla Yameen for dividing his cabinet among coalition partners and “giving half of it to a business tycoon.”
Speaking at the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) local council campaign rally in Addu City last night, Nasheed said development projects that had come to a halt during Dr Mohamed Waheed’s “coup government” had not restarted after the election of the new government.
Yameen’s administration “does not even have a development plan,” Nasheed alleged.
The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) won the second round of presidential polls held on November 16 with the backing of third-placed candidate business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhooree Gulhun.
The coalition constituted the Jumhooree Party (JP), the religious Adhaalath Party, and the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP). The PPM promised the Jumhooree Coalition over 30 percent of government positions.
“The Maldivian state does not have a cabinet, the president does not have a cabinet. There is no government, and there will be no development a non-existent government could provide for the people of Maldives,” Nasheed said.
The former president has been a vocal critic of coalition governments after having come to power as part of a short-lived coalition in 2008, with the backing of several smaller parties including the JP and DQP.
Speaking on decentralisation, Nasheed said Yameen’s half-brother and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s loyalists had initially been critical of the policy.
It was the MDP who had drafted and proposed chapter eight of the constitution on decentralised administration, he said.
Nasheed accused the government of trying to “fit the decentralised system into a unitary system”.
He said that the result of a unitary system would be similar to what had happened “during the thirty long years and hundreds of years before that” where Island Chiefs were at the mercy of Ministers in the capital Malé, thus slowing down development.
Responding to Nasheed’s comments, President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali said that Nasheed “likes to lie when elections are approaching” and that his comments were targeted only for upcoming local elections.
“I think it is in his nature to do this sort of thing, perhaps it is because he does not have much to say politically. But people are more aware now, people know what exactly is happening here.” Muaz said.
“The people of Addu City would be asking whether a dysfunctional government would be working to build a multi-specialty hospital in Hulhumale, airports in Felivaru and Kulhudhufushi, and Hulhumale’ bridge. And would such a government ease the obtaining of Indian visas and construction materials, expunge criminal records of youth. Will a dysfunctional government do all these things?” he asked.
Muaz stated that President Yameen was working very efficiently with the JP’s Gasim Ibrahim, the MDA’s Ahmed Shiyam, the Adhaalath Party and other members of the coalition.
“The cabinet we have now is a very capable one. It is divided into two councils, an Economc Council and a Social Council. Both councils will report directly to the president or the vice president”.
“All members of the cabinet are working very hard as a single team. Perhaps Nasheed was referring to 29 June 2010, when he did not have a cabinet,” Muaz continued, referring to the mass resignation of Nasheed’s Cabinet in 2010.
Nasheed, who is in Addu City for local council election campaign, will be visiting all regions of the city and will participate in a door to door campaign.
At last night’s rally he endorsed MDP candidates for Addu City council and all MDP candidates for other councils, calling on the public to “vote for the MDP ideology”.
He has announced that he will be travelling to all inhabited islands of the Maldives before the parliamentary elections on March 22.