Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) leader and former President Mohamed Nasheed has stated that the actions of the government are undermining the constitution.
Nasheed listed numerous decisions such as the removal of Supreme Court judges, “violations of the Public Finance Act”, “narrowing of fundamental freedoms and rights”, rising religious fundamentalism and extremism, and “isolation from the international world community”.
The MDP party president gave the brief statement before his departure to meet Prime Minister Ranil Wikramasinghe and officials from the new Sri Lankan administration after the surprise victory of Maithiripala Sirisena in last week’s presidential elections.
Nasheed noted that the United National Party (UNP) is a sister party to the MDP through the International Democratic Union and that it is a privilege that a like-minded political party is ruling in “our closest neighbor”, with countless cultural, family, and economic ties.
He also expressed confidence in positive assistance and aid from Sri Lanka to the Maldives in general terms, and particularly in consolidating democracy.
Nasheed said the 2008 Constitution is the symbol of the Maldivian people’s desire for a better Maldives, and that it was the result of much suffering and hard work by the Maldivian people.
He also called on all political parties, international partners, NGOs, and all Maldivian citizens to show solidarity in rising up to defend the Constitution.
“My wish is especially for Jumhooree Party to join MDP and for Adhaalath Party to also be involved in this work”, Nasheed said.
Responding to questions from journalists on whether any official talks have been held between Jumhooree Party lead by MP Gasim Ibrahim and the MDP, Nasheed revealed that brief talks had been held between the two parties, though no further details were revealed.
The MDP currently holds 22 seats in the 85 member Majlis, while the JP has 13 MPs. The Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and its partner – the Maldivian Development Alliance – currently hold 48 seats.
After initially announcing that the party would remain neutral following Gasim’s defeat in the twice-held first round of the 2013 presidential elections, the JP’s council decided to endorse Abdulla Yameen three days before the second round, winning the Progressive Party of Maldives candidate the presidency.
However, the JP’s coalition agreement with the PPM was soon severed by the latter after Gasim stood for the post of parliament speaker in May last year. A purge of JP ministers was followed by the defection of two of the party’s cabinet member to the former ally.
After the MDP passed a resolution calling for Gasim to assume the presidency as an interim leader last month, the Prosecutor General Muhuthaz Muhsin ordered the Elections Commission to take all legal action possible against it, labelling the party “irresponsible”.
Following the Supreme Court judges removal and the MDP’s resolution, local NGO Transparency Maldives released a statement expressing “grave concern” at the trend of undemocratic practices in the country.
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