President Mohamed Nasheed met last night with four of the country’s opposition parties, in a meeting arranged by US Ambassador Patricia Butenis to try and resolve the current deadlock between the executive and the legislature.
The US Ambassador recently attended the July 4 Independence Day celebrations at the Holiday Inn in Male’, organised by the Embassy. During the event, President Nasheed addressed Speaker of the Majlis Abdulla Shahid, saying he “is an honest man. We may have issues but I would like to work with him.”
Last night, representatives from the People’s Alliance (PA),Dhivehi Quamee Party (DQP), Jumhooree Party (JP), along with Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim and leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, met the president in a private meeting.
The President attended the meeting alone “and kept his own minutes”, a senior government official said.
Spokesperson for the US Embassy in Colombo, Jeffery Anderson, later confirmed that Ambassador Butenis arranged the meeting “between the President and the main opposition party”, but provided no further information.
Foreign embassies and international bodies have been eyeing the Maldives nervously ever since Nasheed accepted resignation letters from his cabinet in front of the media last week, fearing his actions could signal a reversion of the country’s nascent democracy.
Political Advisor for the President Hassan Afeef has confirmed the meeting took place, but would not discuss further details.
The President reportedly met DRP MP and Parliamentary Speaker Abdulla Shahid on an earlier occasion. Shahid said he did not attend last night’s meeting, and Thasmeen was not responding to calls at time of press.
Press Secretary for the President, Mohamed Zuhair, meanwhile claimed that “a new cabinet” will be established once the government has overcome the problems it faced.
“The cabinet resigned after accusing parliament of having a spirit of altering votes in exchange for money, and felt they were obstructed in their duties by the Majlis,” he said.
Under Secretary for the President’s Office, Ibrahim Rasheed, said that “corruption cannot be solved by discussing it with people who have already committed it.”
He also said that the government was “ready to discus and solve the issues” and called on the political parties to cooperate with the government in its effort to eliminate corruption.