Abdulla Yameen never destined to become president, says rival candidate Gasim

Resort tycoon and Jumhooree Party (JP) presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim has said that fellow candidate Abdulla Yameen – who is contesting in the presidential poll as the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate – will never be able to secure enough popular support to become the next president.

The Supreme Court’s decision to annul the first round of presidential elections came as a result of a petition filed by the JP, in which the party claimed the election had been flawed due to a number of discrepancies and irregularities in the voting process that amounted to a “systematic failure”.

Gasim’s new verbal attacks on Yameen came in a JP campaign rally held in Kanditheemu Island, Shaviyani Atoll,  last night (October 16).

Speaking during the rally, the businessman-turned-politician told his supporters that Yameen had only won the PPM presidential primaries held earlier this year with the help of some 7,000 fraudulent votes he obtained by infiltrating opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) members into PPM ahead of the party’s internal election.

During the PPM primaries held earlier in March, Yameen edged out former PPM Interim Vice President Umar Naseer, taking 13,096 votes out of the total 20,546 votes cast in the party poll.

Challenging the elections result, citing electoral fraud, corruption and violence, Naseer subsequently filed a lawsuit at the Civil Court challenging the outcome of the poll. However, the Civil Court rejected the case and saw Naseer expelled from the PPM for “sowing discord amongst the party flanks”.

Yameen – who is the half-brother of Maldives’ former autocratic ruler Maumoon Abdul Gayoom – meanwhile dismissed all the allegations, while Naseer subsequently backed Gasim Ibrahim in the presidential poll.

Addressing yesterday’s rally, Gasim stated that the reason Yameen would not be able to garner the popular support of the people was that people had still not forgotten their mistreatment under Gayoom’s reign, in which Yameen had been a central figure.

Gasim also responded to the PPM’s allegations that he was “stuck” under the influence of advisers sympathetic to his political rivals, namely the MDP.  He said that Yameen and the PPM making such remarks was due to the fact that he had refused to declare his support for Yameen in the event of a run-off duel between Yameen and MDP candidate Mohamed Nasheed.

He alleged that Yameen had been making such remarks to cover up his poor presidential campaign, during which he had failed to even visit the majority of the islands in the country.

“A mu’min cannot be bitten twice from one hole; hence I shall never support Nasheed”: Gasim

The resort tycoon also brushed off the ongoing public speculation that he would back Nasheed in a similar case of a run-off election.

The speculations began after Nasheed had a private meeting with Gasim Ibrahim in his own residence last month. Nasheed after the meeting told the press that they had met to discuss “discussed matters of national interest and maintaining stability and public order”.

“As I have said before, a Mu’min (Arabic terminology for pious Muslim) cannot be bitten twice from one hole. That is a narration of Prophet Muhammad. May Allah never show us a day where I would work to help [Nasheed] win the presidency,” Gasim told the rally.

Explaining the reason why he had backed Nasheed in 2008 presidential election – which Nasheed went onto win in the run-off election to become the fourth president of Maldives – was because he wanted to establish good governance and democratic principles in the country.

However, the Chairman of Villa Group said that it had been a “terrible” decision that ultimately caused more grief to the people.

The JP candidate also accused Nasheed of promoting Yameen over him in the presidential election because “Nasheed knows he would swiftly win the presidency should Yameen be contesting him in a possible run-off election”.

“If Abdulla Yameen goes to the second position, [Nasheed] knows he would easily win the second round of elections. If Gasim Ibrahim gets to the second or first position, he knows he must bow down saying bye-bye and good-bye to presidency,” Gasim told his supporters.


Fuvamulah MP Shifaq joins Jumhoree Party

MP for Fuvamulah Shifaq Mufeed has resigned from Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and signed with the Jumhoree Party (JP) led by business tycoon and Maamigili MP Gasim Ibrahim.

Shifaq Mufeed held a press conference at the JP office after the signing ceremony and told the media that he did not have any issues with the PPM.

Mufeed said he had met with former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and informed him of his decision to leave the PPM, and the reasons for his decision.

He claimed that the JP was established with knowledge and wisdom and that he believed development could only be achieved by joining it.

Mufeed also said that he had not joined the JP to gain any political benefits, and praised Gasim saying he wanted to join someone trying to bring changes to the nation.

He criticised Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) policies its manifesto, claiming that the MDP had failed to implement its pledges while in power.

On May 5, several weeks after the controversial transfer of power, Mufeed resigned from the MDP and joined the PPM.

At the time he publicly criticised the MDP, saying that its leadership was “in a coma” and disputing its call for early elections.

Mufeed also went against the MDP party line, attending the Majlis session in which the government’s nominees for the Vice-Presidency and the cabinet were confirmed by the coalition parties.

PPM presidential candidate Abdull Yameen described Mufeed’s departure as “irreparable”.

“Shifaq was active, sincere to the party and worked diligently for the election. He worked in our team without being weary and also worked hard for our party in parliament. It is an irreparable loss, even personally,” Yameen said, according to local media.


Police confirm charges against Yameen and Gasim include bribery, treason

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) has revealed that charges against People’s Alliance (PA) leader Abdulla Yameen and Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim include treason and bribery.

The court ruled just before midnight on Wednesday that both MPs would be confined to house arrest for three days while the investigation continues, and would be free to attend any parliamentary meetings.

Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said the case was being heard this evening, and confirmed the charge sheet included bribery and “attempting to topple the government illegally.”

This afternoon police appealed in the High Court against a warrant issued by the criminal court shortly after midnight on Tuesday evening, requiring that Yameen and Gasim be brought to court in one hour.

Yameen’s legal team, led former attorney general Azima Shukoor, filed in the criminal court to determine on what grounds Yameen was arrested.

The prosecution claimed the court warrant issued by the criminal court was unlawful and against judicial procedure.

”Maldives Police Services understand that the court warrant which ordered police to summon Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom was against the law,” the prosecution stated. ”The criminal court unlawfully ordered police to summon Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.”

She said that there was no law forbidding police from arresting Yameen as there were criminal charges against him.

”Everyone is equal in front of the law,” the prosecution stated. “The court order does not mention that the police abused any of the rights on arrest guaranteed by the constitution.”

She said the time limit on the court warrant was also an issue.

The Chief Judge queried the prosecution lawyer as to whether there was a law specifying a time limit to conduct trials.

”Arrests made abruptly should be brought before judges between 7:30pm to 9:30pm on working days and from 4pm to 9:30pm on other days,” she replied.

Yameen’s defence lawyer Azima Shukoor, said police had no reasonable grounds on which to arrest Yameen.

”Yameen was not told what charges he was being arrested for at the time of  him arrest,” Shukoor said, noting that this was a legal right as guaranteed by article number 48(a) of the Constitution.

The article states that everyone has the right on arrest or detention to (a) be informed immediately of the reasons therefore, and in writing within at least twenty four hours.

”He was arrested at 6:30pm and at 9:45pm he knew the cause of his arrest – that is three hours after he was arrested.” she said.

Azmia said that the Maldives Police Service entered Yameen’s house without his permission, and claimed this violated article 47(b) of the constitution, which states that ‘residential property shall be inviolable, and shall not be entered without the consent of the resident, except to prevent immediate and serious harm to life or property, or under the express authorisation of an order of the Court.’

Addressing the High Court, Yameen explained how he was arrested.

”Police officers came to my house at around 630pm, I do not remember the exact time, and they said they had something to tell me,” Yameen recounted. ”They ordered me to go to the police station immediately.”

Yameen said he asked the police officers whether they had a court warrant and why he was being arrested.

”They said that when I arrived at the police station I would know why,” Yameen said. ”I asked whether they had a document from the Maldives Police Service (MPS), and they did not have that.”

Yameen said he then refused to accompany the officers.

”A police star force squad came and cruelly and without any respect tried to take me [forcibly],” he said. ”I then said I would go.”

Yameen said he asked the police officers to show him a court warrant authorising his arrest.

”They replied that I did not have that opportunity,” he said. ”I said I would go in my own vehicle, and they replied that I did not have that opportunity also.”

Yameen said when the police vehicle went near the police headquaters, they pretended to wait and then drove at high speed.

”I asked them what they were doing,” he said. ”They replied that they were taking me to Dhoonidhoo [police custodial], and said they also had a police station there.”

Gasim’s hearing followed Yameen’s. The MP was defended by Dhivehi Qaumy Party (DQP) leader Dr Hassan Saeed, who also claimed that Gasim was arrested unlawfully.

The High Court will rule on the case tomorrow.


MPs vote against referring to Supreme Court on provinces issue

Yesterday MPs rejected the resolution presented by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to refer to the Supreme Court on the controversial provinces issue.

35 MPs voted for the resolution while 38 MPs voted against the resolution.

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party Vice President and MP Ali Waheed said that he doubted the accuracy of the resolution, claiming that it was presented “to mislead the people.”

”MP Ahmed Sameer (who presented the resolution) has told so many lies standing near the podium,” Waheed said. ”Maybe he wanted to make a record for the first ever issue taken to the Supreme Court.”

The provinces section was removed from the decentralisation bill on the vote of the DRP, Dhivehi Qaumy Party (DQP), Peoples Alliance (PA), Jumhoory Party and several Independent MPs.

”I never knew that people voted to divide the country into seven provinces,” he said.

Waheed said even if the issue was taken to the Supreme Court, they were also unable to divide the country.

”It can only be done by the vote of 77 MPs,” he said.

Independent MP Ibrahim Muthalib said he was concerned that if the issue was taken to the Supreme Court, it would set a precedent and many decisions would be made by the Supreme Court.

”We are losing our dignity on our own,” he said.

MDP MP Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed said that the issue was not a constitutional issue, and was rather a political issue.

”Dividing the country into provinces were in both the MDP and DRP manifestos,” Nasheed said. ”To fulfill the pledges of MDP, it’s one path we have to go down.”

He said that it would be more beneficial if there were seven ‘Males’, instead of one.

”What is really going on is that some DRP MPs and vice presidents had told me that if the issue was taken to the Supreme Court, it would rule that it is lawful,” he said. ”They asked me how they will save face in front of the people if that was the case.”

He called on the DRP MPs to take the issue to the Supreme Court if they were confident on the matter.

”If the Supreme Court rules it is unconstitutional we will also be supporting DRP MPs,” he said.

DRP MP Ahmed Mahloof said the purpose of MDP presenting the resolution was to mislead the people.

‘The ‘DRP manifesto do not say it the party will divide the country into provinces,” he said, ”it says it would make four cities like Male’.”

Jumhooree Party MP Gasim ‘Buruma’ Ibrahim said it was not necessary to pass the resolution and take it to the Supreme Court.

”We should take this out of the parliament floor and continue our work making laws,” he said.

DRP MP Ahmed Nihan said that before taking the issue to the Supreme Court people should define the meaning of MDP’s pledges they made to the people.

”They pledged to provide houses for people made homeless by the Tsunami within one year,” he said. ”We should ask them what they meant by ‘one year’ and ‘providing houses’.”

MDP Parliamentary group leader Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik recently said that the MDP parliamentary group would put forward a no-confidence motion against the speaker of the parliament.

However, newspaper ‘Miadhu’ reported that DRP MP Rozaina Adam had claimed there were MDP MPs who would not vote for the no-confidence motion.

Rozaina told Minivan News that she did not wish to speak about the matter.

Reeko said that the parliamentary group would be deciding the matter after the decentralisation bill.

”We do not want to speak about it yet,” he said.

MDP Secretary General Ahmed Shah, Spokesperson Ahmed Haleem and Chairperson Mariya Didi did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.

DRP Vice President Umar Naseer said Reeko had promised to draft the no-confidence motion against the speaker not with the intention of doing it, ”but just to charge their activists.”

MDP can only get 27 votes even if the no-confidence motion was forwarded, he said: ”MDP can’t shoot goals in parliament.”