Resort tycoon and leader of the government coalition Jumhoree Party (JP), Gasim Ibrahim, has called for the resignation of Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid, after he did not appear at high-level talks on Tuesday morning.
Shahid made the decision to suspend Parliament indefinitely pending a resolution to the ongoing political turmoil.
Gasim was reported as stating in local media that “if the Speaker had any sincerity he would have been here.”
The latest round of informal parliament-initiated talks – running parallel to the formal All-Party talks – were to involve a series of high-level discussions between senior party leaders. The all-party talks are one track of the international community’s response to the political turmoil in the Maldives, together with the Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CNI).
A UN source disputed that the all-party talks had collapsed, stating that “on the contrary we are still hoping to reach agreement on holding them again soon.”
The previous round of the UN-mediated talks, held at Vice President Waheed Deen’s Bandos Island Resort and Spa in early June, collapsed after parties aligned with the government presented the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) with a list of 30 demands.
The list included calls that the MDP “stop practicing black magic and sorcery”, “stop the use of sexual and erotic tools”, and “not walk in groups of more than 10”.
Following the Bandos retreat, Convenor of the All-Party talks, Ahmed Mujuthaba, acknowledged the lack of progress and suggested that “In the end, the most senior political leaders will need to create an atmosphere conducive to discussions, and come together prepared to work in good faith.”
Following this morning’s meeting, Gasim observed to local media that “parliamentary group leaders of the so called big parties, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) and MDP were absent.”
Speaking to reporters outside the President’s Office, MDP MP Ali Waheed revealed that the party made two proposals, which were for all parties to agree to early elections or to determine a course of action based on the conclusions of the CNI report.
“Going for an early election would certainly cool the political atmosphere. Then we talked about how to act on the CoNI report due on the 30th this month. [We said] if they conclude it was a coup d’etat, President Nasheed should be reinstated and there won’t be any further discussions on that. If it was not a coup, if they conclude that the transfer of power was constitutional, we will wait for 2013,” the deputy leader of the MDP parliamentary group explained.
He added however that those found by the commission to have violated the law or committed criminal acts should face prosecution.
Ali Waheed said he expected a response from the President’s Office to the MDP’s proposals.
Gasim told reporters that participating in such talks was “meaningless” as the subject of resuming Majlis sittings was not discussed.
JP would not participate in any further talks until a solution to resuming sittings could be sought through parliament, Gasim said.
Correction: An earlier version of this article inaccurately stated that talks were part of the India-initiated All-Party talks. The talks were parliament-initiated.