Deputy Leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), Dr Abdulla Mausoom, has dismissed reports in local media that the party’s alliance with the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) is being reconsidered.
“I think the media report is the opinion of one person,” said Mausoom.
Mausoom was responding to quotes from the Secretary General of the DQP, Abdulla Ameen, suggesting that a failure to strengthen the party’s ties since its initial agreement in February 2011 had made the coalition redundant.
“The coalition was formed to make the then government more accountable to its people. The other reason was to create an environment for the opposition parties to work together,” Ameen told Haveeru.
“But former President Mohamed Nasheed’s government fell in a way that we had not even expected. Now we have to function in a different manner altogether. So the circumstance under which the coalition was formed has changed drastically,” he added.
Ameen went on to say that the issue was one which would have to be discussed by the parties’ respective councils – he was not responding to calls at the time of press.
Mausoom, however, was keen to point out that the nature of the agreement with the DQP was more akin to an election strategy than a traditional coalition.
“The word coalition is not very meaningful in the Maldives,” he said. “Nasheed used a coalition to get into power and that fell apart.”
“We has an understanding – rather than a coalition per se – that Qaumee party would support DRP’s presidential candidate in 2013,” he explained.
Mausoom went on to suggest that legislation would be needed to enforce coalition arrangements before they could become a serious feature of Maldivian politics.
This view reiterates a point previously expressed by the DRP, who view the current alliance of political parties in support of President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan as a national-unity government rather than a coalition.
A no-confidence motion, seemingly backed by politicians from within the pro-government group, against President Waheed is currently awaiting inclusion on the Majlis agenda.
Ameen went on to argue that the two parties differ significantly on major issues, in particular the development of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) by the Indian company GMR.
The DQP, however, released inflammatory literature likening the airport’s development to colonisation. The party’s leader, Dr Hassan Saeed, has this week released a book arguing for the unilateral invalidation of the agreement.
Hassan, also Special Advisor to President Waheed, compared cancelling the deal to “taking bitter medicine to cure a disease” or “amputating an organ to stop the spread of cancer.”
The DRP has stated its intention to provide voters with an alternative to the divisive and personality based politics offered by the other parties.
Vilufushi MP Riyaz Rasheed – the DQP’s sole MP -in June threatened to walk away from the party should it continue to its ties with the DRP, after the abstention of a DRP MP allowed the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to pass a motion to debate police brutality in the Majlis.
The firebrand MP was reported by one local media outlet to have resigned from the party last week before telling another that the supposed resignation letter was simply one outlining current issues of concern he had about the party.
The DRP currently holds 13 seats in the Majlis and has 26,798 registered members, making it the second largest party in the country. The DQP has one seat and 2,199 members.