Government to begin talks with the Jumhooree Party

President Abdulla Yameen has pledged today to begin talks with the opposition Jumhooree Party (JP) whose senior officials appear to be in self-imposed exile.

JP leader and tourism tycoon Gasim Ibrahim has been in Bangkok since late April, ostensibly to repair a boat. Local media report the criminal court has issued an arrest warrant for Gasim on a charge of financing a historic anti-government protest on May 1.

The JP’s deputy leader Ameen Ibrahim and council member Sobah Rasheed are accused of inciting violence at the May Day protest, and have been charged with terrorism. If convicted, they face between 10 and 15 years in jail.

Both Ameen and Sobah are out of the country. In a video message, Sobah said he is seeking political asylum.

Speaking to the press today, President Yameen said: “God willing we will sit down with Jumhooree Party for talks. We’ve been waiting for Ameen Ibrahim to return to the Maldives and join the talks, but we will go forward even without him.”

Talks will begin within the next two days, he said.

The JP was not responding to calls at the time of going to press.

The president called for separate talks with the JP, the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the religious conservative Adhaalath Party.

The overture came after months of continuous protests over the jailing of ex-president Mohamed Nasheed on terrorism charges and a US$90.4 million claim on Gasim’s Villa Group

The JP immediately agreed to sit down with the government without conditions. In addition to Ameen, the party has proposed MPs Ilham Ahmed, Abdulla Riyaz, and Hussain Mohamed to represent it at the talks.

President Yameen has ruled out negotiations over Nasheed’s release. His agenda focuses on political reconciliation, strengthening the judiciary and political party participation in socio-economic development.

The MDP has proposed Nasheed, chairperson Ali Waheed and MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as representatives. The Adhaalath Party proposed its president Sheikh Imran Abdulla, who is currently in police custody. He is also charged with terrorism over the May Day protest.

The government has rejected Nasheed and Imran as representatives.

“Adhaalath Party and MDP have not shown me a way of proceeding with this. They have stated they will not talk with the government without certain people. I don’t believe that a party which considers the interest of the whole party or the interest of the public would put forward a person in detention or serving a sentence to discussions with the government,” the president said today.

The government “is obliged to continue applying the law indiscriminately to all,” Yameen said and added: “It will be hard for the people to accept it if we take different actions against different people in different situations.”

The president said he will listen to what the opposition has to say and meet their demands if “it does not compromise the law.”

The government had previously rejected the opposition’s calls for talks because their terms were unacceptable, he continued.

“The political parties had asked me to negotiate with them before. But I rejected them because I could not accept the terms they set. But in my own time, within my reasons, I am looking forward to talk with the parties. It is for the benefit of the people, to establish a peaceful environment for all.”

The government had decided to call for talks in the interest of the public and because the international community “believes there are many issues that needs discussions and need to be solved,” he said.

“Now is the time to build the country. We have lost five years. That’s the truth. This is the chance to start projects to develop all areas of the country. This is the time to provide the youth with employment. My appeal to the people of Maldives is to grab this chance,” he said.

“I want the support of everybody. If I did something wrong I will come before the media and apologise to the people and will try to go forward again.”

President Yameen said corruption and injustice in the Maldives resulted from the discriminate enforcement of the law.

“Critics of my government claim there is corruption within the government. It is not a problem at all. I will not make an exception to anyone in my government. If anyone is involved [in corruption] or if anyone is convicted of a crime, he has to face the law,” he said.


Adhaalath condemns Maldives abstention on UN gay vote

The religious conservative Adhaalath Party has condemned the government for abstaining from a United Nations vote on a resolution against providing gay marital benefits to all UN employees.

The secretary general of the Adhaalath Party, which condemns homosexuality, told Vnews the abstention indicated that the Maldives did not oppose providing the marital benefits for gay couples.

In a tweet yesterday, Adhaalath said that it was “shameful” that the Maldives abstained from voting on the resolution, which was voted down last week.

Secretary general Iaadh Hameed added that the government’s foreign policy should be built upon Islamic principles and values, and that those policies should not encourage irreligious acts.

The vote on the resolution was held on March 24, after Russia challenged UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s decision to provide marital benefits to legally wed gay and lesbian couples similar to those provided to heterosexual couples.

However, the UN General Assembly rejected the resolution, with 80 countries voting against it, 43 countries voted in favour and 37 countries abstaining.

While China, Belarus and Muslim-majority Malaysia voted in favour of the resolution, Muslim-majority Indonesia also abstained.

Previously, the Maldives government had strongly criticised the European Union, saying that EU asked the Maldives to legalise same sex marriage and freedom of religion in exchange for extending duty-free status on Maldivian fish.

Economic development minister Mohamed Saeed claimed at the time that the EU declined to extend the duty exemption after Maldives refused the condition of “allowing homosexual relations and the opportunity for people to follow any religion they want”.

“The Maldives is an Islamic state and will remain so. We will uphold Islam. We will not compromise on anything that conflicts with Islam,” he said.


MDP and JP reach agreement on defence of Constitution

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the Jumhooree Party (JP) have officially agreed to work together in defending the Constitution.

JP Vice President Ibrahim Ameen – who represented the party in talks held last night – described the meeting as “successful”, saying the parties agreed to cooperate in defence of the Constitution, both inside and outside of the Majlis.

An outline of the course of action was also reported to have been agreed upon, though Ameen refrained from revealing specific details.

The meeting represented the first official talks between opposition parties after MDP leader Mohamed Nasheed called for all-party talks last week, citing persistent breaches of the Constitution by President Abdulla Yameen’s government.

Earlier this week the JP officially severed its ties with the ruling Progressive Coalition – defunct since May last year, with party leader Gasim Ibrahim inviting all opposition parties for talks.

While MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed, Malé City Mayor Mohamed Shihab and former Majlis Speaker MP Abdulla Shahid participated in the talks on behalf of MDP last night, the JP was represented by Ameen, Dr Hussain Rasheed, MP Ali Hussein, and former Police Commissioner MP Abdulla Riyaz.

Minivan News was unable to obtain a comment from MDP Chairperson Waheed at the time of publication.

The JP has also invited the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) and the Adhaalath Party to the talks, despite the religious party being an unofficial member of the governing coalition.

DRP leader Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed confirmed to Minivan News that the party had received the invitation for all-party talks and said that the party council has not yet decided on the matter.

“We are working to schedule a council meeting today”, said Nasheed.

Adhaalath, which holds a single seat in the People’s Majlis, has received an invitation to future talks but has not yet decided on whether it will attend, the party revealed through its official twitter account yesterday.

JP Spokesman Ali Solih claimed today that Adhaalath has accepted the invitation, though they have not officially replied to it.

“As per Adhaalath’s regulations and internal mechanism, the party also will need to consult with relevant bodies. We are very optimistic that Adhaalath also will cooperate in the efforts to defend the constitution”, Ali Solih said.

Minivan News was unable to obtain a comment from Adhaalath as the party’s President Sheikh Imran Abdulla and Spokesman Sheikh Ali Zahir were not responding to calls.

The JP – which has 13 MPs in the 85-seat Majlis – this week voted through its national council to give leader Gasim Ibrahim the authority to make all decisions regarding actions needed to defend the Constitution.

The JP was officially aligned with the ruling PPM until Gasim’s decision to stand for the Majlis Speaker position, after having given crucial backing to Abdulla Yameen in the 2013 presidential race.

Unofficial talks were announced earlier this month between the JP and MDP, which holds 22 seats in the Majlis, while former President and MDP leader Nasheed has pledged to defend Gasim against government attacks.

Related to this story

MDP holds street rally in front of Gasim’s residence

JP council officially declares exit from Progressive Coalition

Nasheed urges President Yameen to convene all-party talks

We must once again rise up to defend the Constitition, says Nasheed


Adhaalath fears exclusion from coalition’s Majlis election plan

The religious conservative Adhaalath Party has voiced concerns that, despite it’s assistance in the presidential elections of 2013, the government coalition is failing to include the party in its allocation of constituencies for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

A senior council member of Adhaalath Party (AP) – who wished to remain unnamed – told Minivan News that the party has been excluded from seat allocation discussions currently being held between the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and its coalition partners the Jumhooree Party (JP) and the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA).

A representative of the PPM has explained that discussions are first being held with those parties engaged in official agreements with President Yameen’s party before considering electoral arrangements with the religious party.

He alleged that the parties have been in discussions for the past two days while Adhaalath, despite having candidates interested in contesting for 32 constituencies, awaits a response from the group.

“Although there are candidates interested in running for 32 areas, we will understand if the coalition is able to give us somewhat fewer slots. While we are willing to come to an agreement with the coalition on the number of areas to run in, the coalition has so far not given us any opportunity to engage in such a discussion,” he stated.

According to the council member, should the coalition fail to leave sufficient time for campaigning before reaching a decision, the AP will contest separately in the polls.

He further opined that the AP “might be the single party that is bringing out the most number of extremely qualified candidates, with almost all of them having educational qualifications of Masters or Doctorate level”.

AP Spokesperson Ali Zahir confirmed to Minivan News that the party has so far not had any official communication from the coalition regarding the matter.

“We have not yet come to an absolute decision that the coalition is completely cutting us out. We are still awaiting a response from them, which I think will happen after they allocate seats to the parties with whom they already have written agreements. If, however, the coalition does not wish to cooperate with us, we will contest –  even if separately,” Zahir explained.

Will consider including AP: PPM

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Nihan stated that he had learned of the AP’s interest in running in the parliamentary elections approximately a week ago, and that he had conveyed the message to decision makers within the party.

“The thing is, the PPM has official coalition agreements with the JP and MDA. The AP did not join us on an agreement basis. So we can only consider options of sharing seats with AP after we manage to come to an agreement with JP and MDA,” Nihan said.

“The AP usually just communicates with the ruling party through Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, who acts as a middleman. This should not remain so, there must be official communication between the two parties. I will need to check if they have even submitted an official letter asking for coalition cooperation in the parliamentary elections,” he continued.

“After the November 10 elections, the AP came to meet with our then presidential candidate, incumbent President Abdulla Yameen. They said then that they wished to back Yameen and that they would do so without setting any conditions for the agreement. This is why they are excluded from the agreements on the upcoming election,” Nihan said.

“So the thing is, we will first agree upon which seats will be divided between PPM, JP and MDA. As you know, the coalition agreement with JP agrees to give them 33% of the constituencies,” Nihan continued.

“As for the MDA, we have a far too close relationship with them. To use a metaphor, they are a party that married us without dowry. Due to the close nature of the relationship between MDA leader Siyam and Yameen, there are no written agreements between us. But they will be allocated seats as the two parties have never had any friction,” Nihan said.

AP Spokesperson Zahir said that he had no comments to make on the MDA getting seats despite not having a written agreement like the AP, saying “in any case, AP will never be treated like the MDA is treated. We will reveal our thoughts on the matter when the time comes”.

Nihan stated that he hoped the coalition would meet with the AP and come to an agreement, so as not to disadvantage the coalition.

President Yameen has previously called on the AP to contest alongside the coalition, as running separately may lead to vote splitting – benefiting the political opposition.

Earlier in January, the PPM had claimed discussions had been initiated with the AP regarding parliamentary elections, though the AP claims that no official talks have been held to date.


Party running mates debate on TVM ahead of September 7 elections

State broadcaster Televison Maldives (TVM) has aired a debate involving the running mates of all four candidates contesting the upcoming September 7 elections.

Jumhoree Coalition’s vice presidential (VP) candidate Dr Hassan Saeed from Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), Gaumee Ihthihaadh Party coalition VP candidate Ahmed Thasmeen Ali from the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) VP candidate Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) VP candidate Dr Mustafa Lutfi were asked questions regarding national unity, establishing a peaceful and safe environment, good governance and social protection.

According to TVM, the questions in the debate were formulated based on research done by the Maldives National University on the needs and priorities of Maldivian citizens.

National Unity

The show began with a question on what the candidates felt were the biggest challenges to the spirit of nationalism, and what their plans are to strengthen national unity.

All four candidates emphasised that Islam is the basis of unity, and that it was just as important to establish equitability among all citizens. Saeed and Jameel also spoke of treating citizens equally, without any discrimination based on political affiliation.

Saeed further pledged to introduce nationalism and civic education as subjects in all schools. He also noted the difference in economic status between north, south and central Maldives, stating their coalition would work to decrease this.

Thasmeen accused the previous MDP government of having contributed to decreasing national unity by “negligence when it comes to strengthening Islamic principles among citizens”, adding that his coalition will focus on training young children in the ways of Islam.

Jameel stated that the PPM would introduce Islamic studies in primary and secondary level education. Lutfi responded that in addition to Islamic studies already existing in the curriculum, “the entire education system is in line with Islamic principles as this is an Islamic nation”.

In response to a question as to what candidates would do to bring an end to political unrest, all candidates except Thasmeen focused on equal application of law to all citizens.

Saeed and Jameel alleged that the reasons behind existing political turmoil was former president and MDP presidential candidate Nasheed’s “habit of acting outside law”, as well as the importance of empowering and respecting decisions of independent commissions and courts.

Saeed stated that the JP coalition will ensure the Maldives is included among the 10 countries with the least corruption.

Thasmeen stated that the most important step that can be taken is to prioritise national interest over personal political interests.

Lutfi – whose party maintains that the February 7, 2012 transfer of power was illegitimate and the product a coup d’etat – answered that political unrest cannot be eradicated “until and unless a government elected by the people is established in the country”.

Establishing a peaceful and safe environment

The segment started off asking what plans had been made to handle the rising problem of the sale of illicit drugs and drug abuse, especially among youth.

While all four candidates mentioned the establishment of more rehabilitation centres, each had their own ideas as to how the issue should be handled.

Thasmeen suggested more awareness programs as a preventive measure. On the other hand, Saeed and Jameel urged stricter penalisation for drug related offences.

“Our government will give the strictest possible punishment as per the law to those involved in the drug trade. We will not hesitate even if we have to hang them to death,” Saeed stated.

Along with stricter penalties, Jameel added that it was important to expedite court processes, and implement sentences. While he mentioned privatisation of rehabilitation facilities, he placed emphasis on PPM’s plans to further strengthen the police force and provide them with greater jurisdiction in investigating drug cases.

“It is often a huge obstacle for police that they have to work alongside customs and other authorities. Our government will ensure the police have increased powers,” he stated.

Lutfi approached the matter from another angle, suggesting stronger preventive measures can work more effectively than stricter sentences in reducing drug crime.

He stated that the MDP would provide higher education and job opportunities, thereby facilitating paths for youth to create better lives for themselves, and steer them away from drugs.

“As I see it, youth do not take up drug abuse simply through faults of their own, but largely due to failures in a state’s system,” Lutfi said.

All candidates spoke of introducing educational, entertainment and job opportunities for youth.

Saeed added that his coalition would provide accommodation for all young couples who get married. Thasmeen said that youth who are between jobs will be given an “unemployment benefit”, although he did not reveal how much such an allowance would be.

Good governance

Asked about the foreign policies included in each of the parties’ respective manifestos, all candidates spoke about the importance of ensuring that no outside influences compromised the country’s constitutional requirement to be 100 percent Muslim.

Saeed, Jameel and Thasmeen stated the importance of not letting foreign influences compromise Maldives sovereignty, religion and independence.

“We must not go begging to foreign powers every time we need something,” Saeed asserted.

Jameel meanwhile alleged that Nasheed had “negatively affected our tourism industry by speaking openly about the country being at risk of sinking due to climate change while he was still in power”, adding that a leader should always keep the country’s best interests in mind.

The candidates also spoke on the issue of politicisation of the security forces. Saeed suggested that the best way to deal with the problem was to create stricter regulations regarding the protection of state secrets, and by politicians refraining from using security forces as a political tool.

Lutfi however suggested that the best way to ensure the forces upheld their pledges to protect state secrets was by maintaining equality among officers, and by providing adequate training and education.

Implementation of Islamic Sharia

Saeed assured that the JP coalition would not hesitate to implement Sharia law, be it even severe punishments including amputation and the death penalty. He accused former governments of hesitating to do so, as some among their leadership had cases against them which warranted these hadd penalties.

The other three candidates acknowledged that there were problems within the law enforcement forces and the judiciary which inhibited the implementation of harsher Sharia penalties.

Thasmeen stated that the GIP-DRP coalition would open up a national debate to address the issues, while Lutfi stated that such penalties could only be implemented after the judiciary had reformed and gained the trust of the people.

Admitting that there were weaknesses in the law enforcement bodies and the judiciary, Jameel stated that “there are changes we need to bring to the penal code and the criminal justice system. It is also a huge problem that people are currently granted the right to remain silent and that the [Prosecutor General] is not compelled by law to prosecute criminal cases in a predetermined short period of time.”

Jameel asserted that as it is specifically stated in the Quran, there was “no way anyone can refuse to implement death penalty”.

Criticism of competitors

While the program was carried out more as a question and answer session, some candidates leveled criticisms at others in the time allocated for closing statements.

Saeed stated that his candidate, Gasim Ibrahim had served both during Gayoom’s time and Nasheed’s time, and that he had been tasked with major responsibilities, displaying the trust that previous leaders had in his capabilities. He further accused PPM candidate Abdulla Yameen, MDP Candidate Mohamed Nasheed and GIP-DRP coalition running mate Thasmeen Ali of being involved in cases of corruption.

Saeed stated that only MDP and JP had created manifestos after consulting with citizens, adding that “Gasim traveled to all inhabited islands through rain and shine”.

Thasmeen retorted that while Gasim had been busy visiting citizens, Saeed had been writing the GIP coalition manifesto prior to his defection. Thasmeen also said that prior to contesting in the upcoming elections, both Saeed and Jameel had “sung nothing but praise for President Waheed”, which was evidence of the president’s capabilities.

Jameel meanwhile stated that it was irrelevant to listen to three men who had individually served as Attorney General, Minister of Atolls Administration and Minister of Tourism during Gayoom’s 30 year administration. He asserted that the PPM was the right choice as all three candidates had previously worked in Gayoom’s administration. Jameel himself served as Gayoom’s Justice Minister.

Lutfi, who asserted the importance of establishing “a people’s government”, concluded the debate with a summary of the policies launched by the MDP, stating that “on September 7, the Maldivian people will be making an extremely important decision.”

The full debate (in Dhivehi) can be viewed here.


Government-aligned parties unveil youth policies

Two of the candidates contesting in the upcoming September 7 presidential elections held rallies on Saturday night, unveiling policies targeting women and youth.

President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s Gaumee Ithihaadh Party (GIP), along with coalition members Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) and religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP), revealed the first of their pledges and policies at an event held in Stelco on Saturday night, followed by a music show and dinner at Alimas Carnival.

The Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) simultaneously held a rally on Sosun Magu, where its presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen revealed the party’s pledges focusing on women and youth.

“Creative minds of youth will not go to waste”: Waheed

At the GIP-DRP-AP event President Waheed unveiled the coalition’s youth manifesto, divided into four subcategories: “education and training, jobs and earning, sports and entertainment, and starting a new life”.

Waheed stated that if he is elected for a new term, he intended to double the number of students studying for A Levels and diplomas during his first year in office. He added that within three years of a new term, he intended to open up for all students the opportunity to either study to A-level standard or get vocational training.

Waheed spoke of unemployment rates in the country, stating that if he is elected, his government would provide training and loans for youth for small and mid-level business start-ups.

“It is the youth who possess the most creative minds. It is the duty of every government to ensure that these minds do not go to waste. We are aware of that,” Waheed stated, addressing group of around a hundred supporters and party members at the rally.

Speaking on the sector of the coaltion’s manifesto focusing on sports and entertainment, Waheed revealed plans to establish a sports academy to address the lack of facilities to promote sports in the capital city as well as the atolls.

Waheed also claimed existing sports associations would be given increased financial assistance, particularly watersports.

Concluding the presentation, Waheed spoke of the importance of youth having the means to live independently and in privacy, pledging to provide better housing options.

Following this event, leaders of all three coalition parties attended the music show and dinner at Alimas Carnival.

Minivan News observed close to 200 attendees at the dinner, including political leaders from DRP, GIP and the Adhaalath parties, in addition to other members of the current government. Attendees included the politicians’ security details and a large contingent of police, including 10 Special Operations officers. The dining setup for invitees was fenced off from the public area.

Live music was halted while dinner was served, and instead a video was played on a loop on two screens, produced by private media channel DhiTV. The video included excerpts of Waheed’s speeches in the past year, and images from protests showing confrontations between police and demonstrators.

The looped video showed Waheed speaking on a number of issues, including “Does any citizen want the Maldives to become the next Afghanistan?” and “It is always external influences that contribute to breaking up a country’s social fabric.”

PPM Youth City

Meanwhile, PPM presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen announced during Saturday night’s rally that the party intended to transform Hulhumale’ into a “Youth City” where enough apartments to accommodate young people would be constructed.

Yameen said the pledge was meant to cater to the large number of young people who are unable to start a married life due to the lack of housing options.

Yameen also referred to former President and PPM Leader Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom’s 2008 pledge to build a bridge connecting Hulhumale’ to Male’, stating that this dream would be made a reality if PPM wins the upcoming election.

Yameen further stated that in a PPM government, women’s rights would be a major priority.

He stated that women would be given the opportunity to stay at home and work via internet in the instances of “special conditions that are faced by women”. He further stated that the party would ensure a way through which wives can claim “ some percentage” from a husband’s business enterprise.

“Women are valuable people who produce and raise persons who are very important to the nation. They are often at the forefront of everything. We will change the work environment in such a way that suits women.”

Competitors’ criticisms

With reference to the recent acts of supporters painting walls in party colours, Waheed stated that, “the painting of public spaces in party-specific colours is, according to what we know, an act so lowly it is beneath anything a human would do” and that he “sometimes [has] seen such acts being done by creatures on National Geographic channel”.

He said that “these colours are not ones that are painted in the minds or hearts of our youth”, saying that his party will not resort to painting walls in any public places.

“Consider it. Being in the post that I am in now, how would it look if I went and started painting seawalls in my party colour? If I were to paint the walls of the place allocated to the Supreme Court in my party colour? No, we who are leading must set an example for youth,” he stated.

Meanwhile, PPM running mate Mohamed Jameel Ahmed criticised the GIP-DRP-AP coalition’s youth policy launch, stating that Waheed, who is “throwing out important youth figures in the current government has no justification to speak of youth and their interests.”

Speaking at Saturday night’s rally, Jameel said it was youth figures who were most vocal in working to put right the wrongs of the previous government. He said that through these efforts, these youth guaranteed opportunities in today’s government, adding that due to this, Waheed was unjustified in removing them from their posts using their transfer to PPM as an excuse for dismissal.

“A leader who throws out capable youth when they say that with their political beliefs, their conscience does not permit them to work behind this man, has no justification to speak about youth again,” Jameel said.

PPM Presidential Candidate Abdulla Yameen described the policies of other candidates as focusing on “temporary needs”. He stated that PPM would focus on bigger issues, including establishing facilities to do kidney transplants in local hospitals.

“We know the hardships faced by citizens who require kidney transplants. What a blessing it will be if this can be done in this country itself, don’t you think? This is what we are talking of. Now, while this is on offer, will you instead choose eggs and bananas and laptops?” Yameen said, referring to Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s health policy and Jumhoree Party (JP)’s educational policy.


HRCM lacks a religious scholar: Adhaalath party

The Adhaalath Party has called on parliament and President Mohamed Nasheed to include a religious scholar in the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives [HRCM], as stipulated in the constitution.

“HRCM is an institute established according to the constitution of the Maldives. The constitution very clearly states how to appoint members for the commission,’’ said a statement issued by the party. “According to the constitution, the Human Rights Commission should consist of people with different skills, [one of which] is that there should be a person educated in the field of Islam.”

The lack of such a person was a “constitutional absence”, the statement said. “Therefore, members are currently being appointed for the commission, we appeal to the president and parliament to focus attention on including persons from different areas in the commission.’’

The party also said it hoped parliament and president would endeavor to keep independent commissions, such as HRCM, free from people of partisan political background.

Press Secretary for the President, Mohamed Zuhair, said that the president would give due consideration to the Adhaalath Party’s request.

”I think it is a requirement mentioned in the constitution,” said Zuhair, “and of course the president gives high priority to requirements mentioned in the constitution.”

The parliament last week appointed three members for the HRCM, out of eight names proposed by the president.

The three members appointed for HRCM were Maryam Azra Ahmed of Maafannu Hukuradhige, Jeehaan Mahmood of Dheyliyage in Hinnavaru of Lhaviyani Atoll and Ahmed Thalal of Henveiru Adduge. Former President of HRCM Ahmed Saleem was not approved by the parliament.