The Jumhooree Party (JP) is open to discussions with the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) as the party does not believe the coalition agreement has been terminated, JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim has said.
Speaking at a press conference at the JP headquarters in Malé yesterday (June 17), Gasim said he was pleased that President Abdulla Yameen had said that the parties could discuss problems with the coalition agreement, adding that the JP was ready to join discussions at a time and place of the PPM’s choosing.
“We are ready to go forward in the best interest’s of the nation’s peace and stability,” the business tycoon said.
Unlike other political arrangements, Gasim stressed that the coalition agreement between the parties was signed in the presence of witnesses with the signatories swearing by God to uphold the agreement.
“How can it be said that such an agreement has been dissolved without any just reason? I am certainly frightened that they decided that such an agreement has been dissolved,” the MP for Maamigili said, adding that he feared the “wrath of God” as a result of the PPM’s actions, which would affect “innocent people” as well.
He noted that former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom had signed the agreement on behalf of the PPM in his capacity as the party’s leader.
Gasim said that the JP has yet to be officially notified in writing of the termination of the coalition agreement.
The PPM had announced in a press statement that the party’s council decided unanimously on May 26 that the agreement “has been brought to an end by the Jumhooree Party as of today” after Gasim contested for the post of Majlis speaker.
Holding up the agreement and reading out clauses at the press conference, Gasim said that the PPM had so far not been able to explain which part of the agreement that the JP breached.
Gasim also contended that the PPM had violated the agreement by failing to either consult the coalition partner before nominating individuals to independent institutions – such as President Yameen’s nephew Maumoon Hameed for prosecutor general – or provide 33 percent of political posts in the executive as stipulated in the agreement.
After initially announcing that the party would remain neutral, the JP’s council decided to endorse Yameen three days before the second round of the presidential polls on November 16 after JP candidate Gasim finished in third place in the first round with 23.37 percent of the vote.
Gasim claimed yesterday that he had spent MVR20 million on Yameen’s campaign ahead of the run-off polls on November 16 as the coalition agreement stated that the parties should support each other.
Gasim said he gave part of the money at the request of Yameen and his running mate Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed while the rest was spent for JP members to visit islands on campaign trips.
Moreover, Gasim claimed to have spent a further MVR20 million for the PPM during the parliamentary election campaign.
“I sent an amount no less than MVR20 million to President Maumoon and President Yameen,” he said.
Of the coalition candidates to whom Gasim provided financial assistance, the JP leader said former MP for Kinbidhoo, Moosa Zameer, was the only PPM candidate to have lost.
Gasim went on to criticise the two JP MPs – Milandhoo MP Hassan Mufeed Abdul Gadhir and Nolhivaram MP Hussain Afeef – who signed for the ruling party this week, noting that the pair had signed an agreement under oath to remain in the JP until the end of their five-year terms.
He noted that members of coalition partners switching parties was a violation of the agreement.
Gasim said he had heard that the pair were given MVR10 million each to switch allegiances as well as suggesting that the MPs had told him the government had threatened to cease development projects in their constituencies.
Environment Minister Thoriq Ibrahim and Economic Development Minister Mohamed Saeed had also told the JP leader that they decided to sign for PPM as they could not continue their work without doing so, Gasim said.
JP Deputy Leader Ilham Ahmed meanwhile argued that the ministers should have resigned from the cabinet before signing for the ruling party as the pair had been appointed to JP slots.