Political leaders take to twitter to mark February 7th

Political leaders have taken to social media to mark three years since the resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed in 2012.

While former President and leader of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Maumoon Abdul Gayoom wished all “patriotic Maldivians” a “Happy 7th February”, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) leader Nasheed posted the lyrics of a melancholic Dhivehi ballad.

Nasheed’s message contained the lyrics to a song which describes the “many tears shed that day” – originally written about the death of a couple from Galolhu Penzeemaage, killed when their Dhoni capsized near Malé in the 1980s.

He has made no other official comments regarding the day of his departure from office.

Nasheed resigned on February 7, 2012, after mutinying security forces joined anti-government protesters, demonstrating against the arrest of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed – for which Nasheed still faces criminal charges.

The protests’ leaders included key opposition figures from PPM, Jumhooree Party (JP), Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party, and the religious conservative Adhaalath Party.

Current Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer – who stood in the front lines of opposition protests against Nasheed’s presidency – said yesterday that the date was a “proud day for Maldives, Islam and the constitution”, thanking everyone who stood against the country’s fourth president.

Naseer this weekend announced his exit from JP after the party joined the MDP in an agreement to defending the Constitution – receiving public praise from Gayoom for his decision.

Meanwhile, other protagonists in the events surrounding Nasheed’s resignation struck a more conciliatory tone, with Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla saying “the nation cannot move forwards without forgiving and building friendships”.

Sheikh Imran described the events of February 7 and 8, 2012 as “dangerous and sad”.

After supporting Gasim in the first round of the 2013 presidential elections and President Abdulla Yameen in the run-off, Adhaalath is considered an unofficial coalition partner in the government, with the party assigned the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

Nasheed has recently used the events leading up to and following his departure from office to suggest that the current government has lost legitimacy following the JP’s withdrawal from the governing coalition.

He has cited the Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) report, which concluded that change of government was “legal and constitutional”, and the events of February 6-7 “were, in large measure, reactions to the actions of President Nasheed”.

“[I]t is evident that President Nasheed lost the support of the coalition supporting the MDP which had brought him to power and it is an irrefutable fact that MDP never enjoyed a clear majority in the Parliament,” read the Commonwealth-assisted report.

Even without the support of the JP’s 13 MPs, the ruling PPM currently enjoys a clear majority in the People’s Majlis, controlling 49 seats alongside the its ally, the Maldivian Development Alliance.

Nasheed stated last week that, with the CoNI report arguing that the transfer of power on February 7 was made in accordance with the law: “Yameen, we are also going to change your government in that very path deemed legal”.

Related to this story

Maldives government changes in dramatic scenes after police elements join opposition protest

MDP alleges 117 cases filed against February 8 2012 protesters “politically motivated”

Gasim defiant as opposition sign agreement to defend Constitution


We will change the government according CoNI report, says Nasheed

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has said the opposition will change the government in the manner which was authenticated by Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) report.

Speaking at a street rally in Malé held last night (January 3) by Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and its new ally the Jumhooree Party (JP), Nasheed said all political parties had agreed that the findings of the report would be accepted even before it had begun.

“This very report stated that the transfer of power on February 7 was made in accordance with the laws – President Yameen, we are also going to change your government in that very path deemed legal,” he said.

After the Commonwealth-backed inquiry ended the MDP’s hopes of overturning the new administration, Nasheed described the final report as a setting a legal precedent for the overthrow of an elected government through police or mob action.

The Maldives was left “in a very awkward, and in many ways, very comical” situation, said the former president at the time of the report’s release in August 2012, “where toppling the government by brute force is taken to be a reasonable course of action. All you have to do find is a narrative for that course of action.”

The report into the circumstances surrounding Nasheed’s controversial resignation found that the change of government was “legal and constitutional”, and the events of February 6-7 “were, in large measure, reactions to the actions of President Nasheed”.

“The resignation of President Nasheed was voluntary and of his own free will. It was not caused by any illegal coercion or intimidation,” the report claimed.

“[I]t is evident that President Nasheed lost the support of the coalition supporting the MDP which had brought him to power and it is an irrefutable fact that MDP never enjoyed a clear majority in the Parliament,” read the document, pointing to factors that led to his departure from office.

Constitutional amendments

Nasheed claimed last night that as stated in the CoNI report, President Abdulla Yameen’s government had also lost legitimacy after JP leader Gasim Ibrahim – who backed Yameen in the 2013 presidential run-off elections – pulled out of the coalition.

“There is no support for President Yameen’s presidency. The support he received even with President Maumoon is 25 percent,” Nasheed stated.

He argued that the spirit of the Maldivian Constitution is aligned with the presidential system of governance, which demands that one individual gains over 50 percent of the voting population’s support.

This support failed to materialise in either the 2013 presidential elections, or in his own 2008 victory, noted Nasheed.

“The result is that the new government in its infancy loses legitimacy after coalition partners pull out”.

Nasheed also stated that the Maldivian people do not wish to create a dictatorial ruler with a super majority, but rather wish “to find a way in which the Maldives is ruled under the principle of dialogue and discussion”.

He subsequently claimed that constitutional changes needed to be brought in order to facilitate a system of democracy in which the government can function without a super majority, through discussions and dialogue between political figures and parties.

The MDP and the JP held a third round of discussions at Maafannu Kunooz on Sunday (January 1) night, agreeing to officially sign a document concerning their joint efforts to defend the Constitution.

The document, scheduled to be signed at a special ceremony on Thursday (January 5), will be followed by a joint rally that evening at the Carnival area in Malé.

Although the Adhaalath Party has decided against joining the alliance, the Maldives Trade Union has joined the opposition, claiming that the government’s persistent violations of the constitution have “eroded crucial checks and balances and accountability mechanisms”.

Related to this story

No coup, no duress, no mutiny: CNI report

MDP and JP reach agreement on defence of Constitution

Nasheed urges President Yameen to convene all-party talks


Malé City Council to bring back 24 hour shops and cafes

Malé City Council has decided to bring back the 24 hour service at cafes and shops, seventeen months after it was banned by Dr Mohamed Waheed’s government.

The proposition was passed unanimously by nine members present at yesterday’s council meeting (March 18), though the government has suggested that it does not have the authority to make such decisions.

Councilman Shamau Shareef said that the council decision came in response to a number of request from Malé City residents.

“This is what the people want. The former government discontinued the permissions to operate such places citing criminal activity and instability in the city. But now we have an elected government, and we think it should be reconsidered now,” said Shamau.

He noted that council have now been tasked with issuing trade permits for the city and it is in the council’s mandate under the Decentralisation Act to address this issue.

But the Ministry of Economic Development has today said that the issuing of trade permits was delegated to the council under a memorandum of understand with the ministry, which does not allow issuing 24 hour license.

“The government decided to end the running of 24 hour businesses. From that point the procedure for issuing trade permits were changed. City council have been tasked with issuing permits under those procedures,” the ministry’s Director General Usman Shakir was quoted as saying in Haveeru.

Shakir said that the government has not yet changed it’s position on allowing 24 hour businesses, and warned that the ministry will take action if any such permission is issued.

Responding to the ministry’s statement Councilman Shamau said that there are “some barriers” in implementing the decision, but the council is willing to overcome these issues by discussing it with the ministry.

“We will do whatever it takes. This is the capital city, and there are 24 hours ferries operating, people coming from other islands, people are working round the clock. There should be some way for them to eat or buy things they need. We are talking about basic necessities of the people,” he said.

President Mohamed Nasheed’s government decided to issue permits for 24 hour businesses in December 2010. After the change in government, Dr Mohamed Waheed’s administration in October 2012 decided to put an end to these opening hours.

The ministry’s official reason for decision was national security concerns. There was a high level of concern about increasing rates at the time, particularly with political instability and the murder of MP Dr Afrasheem Ali within the same month.

While it is not known whether the decision had any positive impact in reducing crime rates, the parliamentary national security committee at the time suggested impact it had was negative.

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party at the time described the decision as an attack against small and medium businesses which ‘left thousands of people unemployed’. Resuming the permits was an election pledge of the party’s presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed in 2013.

Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives was at the time a coalition member of the government, and President Abdulla Yameen was elected as president, the party has maintained support for the ban on 24 hours businesses.

When the permits were revoked in 2012 there were forty four businesses with permit in Malé city, now all shops have to be closed at 11pm and all cafes at 1am.


Parliament approves Mohamed Fayaz as high commissioner for Malaysia

The People’s Majlis today approved retired Deputy Commissioner of Police Mohamed Fayaz (FA) as the Maldives High Commissioner for Malaysia with 39 votes in favor, 8 against, and one abstention.

Following President Yameen’s nomination of Fayaz, his name was reviewed by the parliament’s National Security Committee.

The committee approved Fayaz without interviewing him, stating that he is “in terms of academic qualifications and experience, the best candidate to be appointed as the Maldives High Commissioner for Malaysia”.

Disgraced Civil Service Commission head Mohamed Fahmy Hassan was earlier appointed as the Deputy High Commissioner for Malaysia. In 2012 the parliament dismissed Fahmy as the president of the CSC for sexual harassment of a female staff member.

Mohamed Fayaz has also been criticised – particularly by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party – for his involvement in the controversial power transfer of February 7, 2012.

Fayaz, along with Abdulla Riyaz who is currently running for People’s Majlis, and incumbent Minister of Defense Retired Colonel Mohamed Nazim were seen among the mutinying police officers gathered outside the military headquarters where President Mohamed Nasheed was at the time.

Fayaz negotiated between top generals and the mutinying police officers and was seen beside Nazim when he announced that the president should resign unconditionally.

According to the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) which investigated the events that lead to the power transfer, Fayaz was with President Nasheed when he was taken from the military head quarters to the President’s Office for resignation.

“Nazim and Fayaz went into the President’s Office ahead of the car in which the President was travelling. Following behind the car were the President’s SPG, Chief of Defence Force and Military Operations Commander,” the CNI timeline of events stated.

Nasheed’s resignation letter was later taken from the official dispatch by Fayaz and Riyaz who then delivered it to the speaker of the people’s majlis.

Fayaz served in the National Security Service for fourteen years under President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. He was a lieutenant at the time the NSS was split into the police and military branches.

In December 2008, President Mohamed Nasheed appointed him as the Deputy Commissioner of Police, but he was soon dismissed while on study leave. Within a month of his dismissal, Nasheed appointed him as the deputy minister of civil aviation and communication.

Following the power transfer of Febaruary 2012, President Mohamed Waheed appointed Fayaz as minister of state for home affairs.

In January 2013 Fayaz applied for registration of a political party named ‘Maldives National Industrial Alliance’, though the application was rejected last month by the Elections Commission for failing to reach the minimum number of members required for the registration of parties.

During the first round of presidential elections he entered the Jumhooree Coalition supporting businessman Gasim Ibrahim.