Reports of Speaker Shahid, DRP MPs’ defection to MDP unconfirmed

Rumours that Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid and two other government-aligned MPs, Alhan Fahmy and Abdulla Abdul Raheem, have joined the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) are being widely circulated by local media.

Minivan News was unable to confirm the reports at time of press as Speaker Shahid and the other MPs were not responding to calls. The DRP has acknowledged the rumours, but has said it has not been officially informed of the switch.

Local media has also reported that government-aligned MPs Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed, MP Ali Azim and MP Hassan Adil are also preparing to join the opposition.

Speaker Shahid, Ali Azim and Nasheed are all from government-aligned Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP). The supposed reason for their defection, as reported in local media, was a clash within the party’s parliamentary group over its stand on recently scheduled no-confidence motion against Home Minister Mohamed Jameel Ahmed.

A source in the MDP familiar with the matter alleged to Minivan News that the defection of the MPs was prompted after DRP Leader MP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali brokered a “last minute deal” with the government in return for DRP not voting against the minister.

According to a 2010 report by former Auditor General Ibrahim Naeem, loans totalling Rf1 billion taken out by Fonadhoo Tuna, a company owned by Thasmeen at the time, and luxury yachting company Sultans of the Sea, connected to the party leader, had yet to see any repayments.

Together the loans accounted for 13 per cent of the total amount loaned by the bank in 2008. Naeem commented at the time that defaults on bank loans issued to “influential political players” could jeopardise the entire financial system of the country.

DRP MPs Mohamed Nashiz and Ali Azim were summoned to court in November 2012 regarding the debts, just as parliament was voting to determine whether no-confidence motions against ministers could be taken in secret.

Those summons were in relation to a Civil Court ordering Mahandhoo Investments and Kabalifaru Investments – two companies with ties to DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali – to repay millions of dollars worth of loans to the Bank of Maldives Plc Ltd (BML). The verdict was also upheld by the High Court in October 2011.

MP Azim alleged at the time that President Mohamed Waheed Hassan and other senior members of the executive had approached him, offering to cancel the court summons if he agreed to vote for the secret balloting in a way they preferred.

According to the MDP source, ahead of the no-confidence motion on April 8 the DRP had “in principle agreed” to vote against the minister, but had changed their minds at the last minute. Speaker Abdulla Shahid was “left no choice but to call off the session”.

Shahid called off the parliamentary session following point of orders taken by opposition MDP MPs over the issue of the secret ballot, which the Supreme Court had overturned despite parliament’s earlier vote in favour.

Upon concluding the session Speaker Shahid announced that the matter raised by MDP MPs regarding Supreme Court’s decision had been sent to parliament’s General Affairs Committee. He said the committee will review the decision and begin working the following day.

Despite the rumours, the DRP MPs have been in no hurry to confirm the reported switch.

Speaking to Minivan News, MDP Spokesperson MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor claimed that “a re-alignment in favour of the opposition is definitely happening”.

“I can confirm you as I am a parliamentarian myself that several parliamentary groupings who previously stood behind the old dictatorship are slowly dismantling now. They have now started to realise that backing an old dictatorship is wrong,” said Ghafoor. “I can guarantee you that a re-alignment is definitely happening and dismantling of the old dictatorship is imminent.”

However Ghafoor declined to reveal the names of those MPs involved in the claimed switch.

Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) Deputy Leader Ibrahim Shareef said the party had received no official confirmation that Speaker Shahid or any of the party’s MPs had resigned from the party or were  looking to switch to the MDP.

However, Shareef said he could not rule out the possibility of such a switch in the current political climate, citing that political defections “occur very fast in this country”.

“Anything is possible” he admitted. “As far as we are concerned, there are a lot of rumors right now about a political switch.”

Should the defections happen as rumored, the number of opposition MDP MPs will be 35 – just 4 MPs short of the parliament’s simple majority required for the dismissal of cabinet ministers and pushing through legislation.

Parliament breakdown by party (prior to rumoured defection of five DRP MPs):
MDP 29
PPM 19
DRP 11
JP 3
PA 1
DQP 1
Independent – 11
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11 thoughts on “Reports of Speaker Shahid, DRP MPs’ defection to MDP unconfirmed”

  1. Keep following these complete sociopaths and thieves, playing hoops for their own financial interests, DRP MDP PPM JP adaalath whoever else, same crap with different names. NONE of them have our best interests and you all should be embarrassed to follow this crap, vote for those nuts, and protest alongside these people.

    For once start thinking for yourselves.
    And stop hiding behind a political flag, and stand up as individuals. We are a nation of twelve people, and if one of us did something great, invented something and did something beneficial for the community, every single one of us will have some form of joy.

    We have about ten or more violent drug related or otherwise street gangs in male' alone with hundreds in numbers,
    And our country is dependent on an industry based on foreign opinion and how well the economy of the foreign wealthy is doing.

    Countrys with vision, who had absolutely nothing, no natural resources have gone way ahead, take countries like singapore and places like hong kong. We have the potential for that, and we can truly become an independent nation of external help.
    We should be embarrassed as we are among the beggars of this world, as we need foreign aid to even lift a toe. am greatly thankful to the neighbouring countries and everyone else who helped us all this time, but its time for us to actually educate our young to be engineers, entrepreneurs at an international level, instead of making them go into politics. And actually build something great, work hard, try to create industry, stop this idiotic internal conflict,
    And media such as minivan should actually encourage progress, than pick and choose sides, because you being foreigners and external observers should try to help the people rather than instigate psychos like adhaalath and their followers, and polarize the nation into groups with names, and give these corrupt people legs to stand on by making their names heard

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  2. Damn,

    You wish to put the cart before the horse?

    Your involvement in politics and yes, backing or not backing the politicians we have, is necessary for any improvements. Choosing the best among the lousy is the choice we have.

    A politician steals only because you accept it, because given an opportunity, you will too. Sure, while they reap their bonanza you feel a tinge of outrage, but come election day, all is forgiven, palms are greased and its business as usual.

    In an electoral democracy, the politicians are usually an epitome of the general population.

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  3. Are we now going to hear that Abdullah Shahid bestowed the oath to Waheed also under gun point and that he did everything from that day forth including the opening of the majlis under gun point , brace yourselves my friends for the stories ahead

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  4. @Damn: This is the result of 30 years of political suppression and brainwashing. Somehow it is fashionable to be "apolitical" as if taking that position would remove one from their influence. The truth is, when you have no say, someone else will speak for you and that only empowers those politicians even more. Democracy is about everyone having their say - and that means being informed, taking a stand, protesting, voicing out your opinion etc. If that bothers you then we can go back to the hagiocracy we came from where we had superficial calm and order and was blissfully ignorant of politics.

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  5. @peasant,
    get rid of the donkeys driving the horse cart, get a damn car. Are we really that dependent on these idiots, are we incapable of bringing any reforms in a society of 5 and a half people?

    Stealing when given the opportunity? speak for yourself. Leaders are meant to be servants of the citizens, and not the other way round

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  6. Shaid will be forgiven of all his sins now and he will be cleaned.

    Once people join MDP, they will become cleaned and free from corruption and wrong doing.

    Nasheed is the man who has the ultimate power to forgive the people of their wring doings and make them cleaned.

    Good Luck Shahid and your corruption is now over and forgiven by the supreme leader Nasheed.

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  7. @homo
    speak for yourself, its not being apolitical, its recognizing how messed up the entire system is within politics, and politics is not the only means of exerting influence.

    If freedom is something you get based on someones opinion, might as well give it up entirely. Freedom and progress do not belong to politicians, nor do they want you/anyone to have it.

    and those 30 years would have been far less if people had started thinking for themselves, instead of leader worshipping like right now, no matter what party anyones representing, they are representing trash, because these partys stand for trash.

    Individuality is lost in politics, as youre forced to adhere to the given partys opinions when you vote them in

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  8. Damn. you said all well and nothing more to say about this dirty politics in Maldives.

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