MDP seeking public opinion over party reform

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has invited its members and the general public to submit suggestions and ideas for reforming and restructuring the party in the wake of electoral defeats in the presidential and parliamentary elections.

The party’s national council last week voted to form a three-member committee to study a reform paper (Dhivehi) submitted by a group of members and collect opinions and ideas for reform.

At a press conference on Thursday, the committee – comprised of MDP Youth Wing Leader Aminath Shauna along with Ali Niyaz and Ahmed Mujthaba – announced that it would be accepting suggestions for a two-week period.

Party members were invited to submit a form (Dhivehi) either to the party office or [email protected].

Alternately, members could use the #tellmdp hashtag of social media or visit the secretariat office in Malé between 11:00pm and 1:00pm and 3:00pm and 4:00pm on weekdays to share their views in person.

Speaking at Thursday’s press conference, Youth Wing Leader Shauna assured members that the committee would not censor or amend any suggestions.

At the end of the two-week period, she said, the committee would compile a report and submit it to the national council.

Shauna noted that the committee also welcomed opinions and ideas from members of the general public who were not registered MDP members.

Niyaz explained that while some suggestions could be approved by the national council by adopting resolutions, other reforms would have to be passed at the next national congress.

The national council decided last week to hold the party’s congress on June 6 and 7. The last congress took place in October 2010.

Among the ideas shared on social media so far, supporters have suggested clearly delineating the role of the chairperson and president or abolishing one of the posts, strengthening the administration of internal elections and primaries to ensure fairness and transparency, improving engagement with the media and increasing involvement of youth.


Nasheed appointed acting president of MDP as ‘Reeko’ Moosa resigns chairmanship

MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik announced his resignation as chairperson of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) at a meeting of the party’s national council today, which also saw former President Mohamed Nasheed appointed MDP’s acting president.

At the conclusion of today’s meeting, the outgoing chairperson said he decided to resign because he believed in democratic principles, urging other members in the party’s leadership to follow his example.

He added that former President Nasheed was in charge of the MDP’s election campaigns, which were conducted based on “his instructions and under his supervision.”

Moosa assured council members that there was no “negligence” on his part that was to blame for the MDP’s losses.

Today’s meeting was called to discuss restructuring and reforms following electoral defeats in the presidential and parliamentary polls, and to decide a date for the party’s next congress.

MP Moosa Manik announced his resignation at the start of the council meeting in Dharubaaruge this afternoon.

In the wake of the party’s poor performance in the Majlis elections, Nasheed told the press that the leadership should bear responsibility and called for new leaders to take the party’s helm.

The main opposition party fielded 85 candidates and won 26 seats in the March 22 elections, while the ruling Progressive Coalition secured a comfortable majority.

The coalition’s numbers in parliament grew to a two-thirds majority with yesterday’s defection of MDP MP-elect Mohamed Musthafa to the Progressive Party of Maldives.

A resolution to appoint Nasheed acting president was adopted with the support of 47 members out of the 54 in attendance at today’s council meeting.

The post of the MDP’s president has been vacant since the national council removed former party president Dr Ibrahim Didi with a no-confidence vote in April 2012.

The MDP national council today also decided to hold the party’s congress on June 6 and 7.

Among other decisions approved today, the national council voted to form a three-member committee to study reforms (Dhivehi) suggested by a group of party members. The committee consists of Youth Wing President Aminath Shauna, Ali Niyaz, and Ahmed Mujthaba.

A proposal by MP Ahmed Hamza to appoint members to vacant leadership posts within the next six months and a proposal by former National Social Protection Agency Chairman Ibrahim Waheed to make former presidents elected to office on the party’s ticket permanent members of the council were also passed.


DRP committee reveals contenders for deputy leader posts

Five people have expressed interest in standing for three vacant deputy leader posts within the government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), according to local media.

Ahead of the DRP congress scheduled to run from April 23 to April 25, the party’s Election Committee has said that MPs Ali Azim, Rozaina Adam and Mohamed Ramiz will be among those contesting for the posts, according to Sun Online.

Current Minister of Economic Development Ahmed Mohamed, as well as Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Ali Solih are also expected to stand.

The committee also announced that 12 individuals had expressed interest in standing for six spots on the DRP’s council that are reserved for members of the public.

According to Sun Online, the DRP election committee has opted against holding votes to appoint a president and vice president for its women’s wing, along with a member of its Behavioural Committee as only one candidate had applied for each position.


DRP party congress scheduled for April

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has announced its party congress is to take place between April 23-25, local media has reported.

DRP Spokesperson Zeena Zahir told local media that the congress had initially been scheduled for March, but was later cancelled due to the unavailability of the Dharubaaruge conference centre.

“We will be able to conduct it [congress] next month. Male’ City Council has notified us with a letter that Dharubaaruge will be available for that date,” Zeena was quoted as saying in local media.

The party is to hold elections for two deputy leader positions, youth wing leaders and women’s wing leaders during the congress.


PPM will never break up so long as photographs of Gayoom exist: PPM MP Ahmed Nihan

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik has claimed that as long as photos of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom exist PPM will never “break up”.

Speaking at the closing ceremony at PPM’s first congress, local media reported Nihan as proclaiming that “no one” has as much courage as Gayoom and that PPM would not end up like the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP).

“People have asked me during this election whether PPM is breaking up. There’s no way that PPM would break up as long as President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is around and if he’s not around, as long as even a photo of him exists.

“There’s no chance of that happening. I’m telling you, there’s no one who has that much courage. Forget it,” Nihan was quoted as saying in local media.


PPM council elected at party’s first ever congress

Key positions within the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) were filled this weekend during elections at the party’s first ever congress.

Twelve out of the fourteen seats of PPM’s council were won by party members aligned with MP Abdulla Yameen, who is competing for the party’s presidential primary against interim Vice President of PPM, Umar Nasser.

Yameen’s half brother, former President of the Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was appointed PPM President after being the only candidate nominated for the post.

Yameen was also appointed Parliamentary Group Leader. Both Yameen and Gayoom were appointed to their respective positions without a vote, as no one else contested against them.

Gayoom’s daughter, Dhunya Maumoon was selected as PPM’s Women Branch President and Abdul Raheem Abdullah was appointed Deputy Leader of PPM Parliamentary Group Leader, also without contest.

Gayoom’s son, Faris Maumoon secured the highest number of votes by a single candidate at 419, while his other son, Ghassan Maumoon received 416 votes.

PPM Vice Presidency

Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb and PPM Parliamentary Group Deputy Leader Ilham Ahmed were elected as the first vice presidents of PPM.

Local media reported the temporary results of the secret votes taken at PPM congress show that Adheeb received 361 out of 400 votes.

Ilham received 301 votes while Raheem – who was later appointed as Deputy Leader of PPM Parliamentary Group Leader – received 268 votes.

The temporary results have not yet been officially announced at the congress, which is taking place at Darubaaruge, Malé.

PPM Council Member and lead activist of Umar Naseer’s presidential primary campaign team, Ibrahim Nazim was elected as President of PPM’s youth group.

Aminath Nadhaa was elected as vice president of the party’s youth group with 40 votes in favour.

PPM formed due to actions of Nasheed: Gayoom

Former autocratic ruler Gayoom, who presided over the Maldives for thirty years, said that PPM was formed due to the actions of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s government, local media reported.

Speaking during the PPM congress, the Gayoom claimed that government accountability was largely reduced during Nasheed’s presidency and assaults had become “commonplace”, Sun Online reported.

Gayoom added that PPM took part in the demonstrations held between 2011 and 2012 and that they are now part of the multi-party coalition that was formed following Nasheed’s controversial removal from power in February 2012, local media stated.

Under the ‘multi-party coalition’ that has since taken control of the country, a new bill enforcing limitations on such demonstrations and protests was recently ratified by President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik.

In a joint statement from local NGOs Transparency Maldives (TM) and Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) this month (January 2), it warned that the bill posed “serious challenges to the whole democratic system”.

The statement claimed that the bill could restrict the constitutional right to freedom of assembly (article 32), freedom of expression (article 27) and press freedom (article 28).

Speaking at the congress on Friday, Gayoom urged candidates who lost out, not to feel disheartened as the ‘opportunity to serve the nation was still available’, local media reported.

“Don’t think of it as an obstacle. The future is in your hands. The chance to serve the party and nation will become available,” the former President was quoted as saying in local newspaper Haveeru.


PPM opens opportunity to register delegates for party’s congress

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) this Thursday announced its decision to open the opportunity to register delegates for first congress in the coming month of November.

PPM Secretary General Yumna Maumoon, who is also the daughter of the party’s interim leader former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom told the press that the party intends to allow two types of delegates.

The two types Yumna Maumoon said were elected delegates from all the party branches and invited delegates. Invited delegates would include its members who are currently filling top government positions and party’s parliamentarians.

The party also stated that it will hold its presidential primaries after the party congress.


Adhaalath Party reschedules congress over space concerns

The Adhaalath Party has reportedly postponed the date of a key congress set for July until later in the month after facing issues in securing a venue suitable in size to host the event.

The congress, which will see the group’s recently appointed new leadership take their oaths of office as well commencing elections for other senior posts, is now expected to take place between July 17 and July 20 at Dharubaaruge, according to the Haveeru newspaper.

The Party’s Registrar Dr Mohamed Muiz told the paper that the decision had been taken to postpone the event – originally scheduled to begin July 4 – after fears that refurbishments to the initial host venue would not be completed in time.


Forty percent of manifesto complete, claims MDP

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) claimed at its congress last weekend that 40 percent of the party’s manifesto had been implemented since the party took office in 2008.

MDP spokesperson Ahmed Haleem told Minivan News that the congress was “very successful”, with launch of the local council election campaign representing “major progress” towards the upcoming local council elections.

During the congress the MDP launched a “Youth Wing’’ and a ‘’Womens’ Spirit Wing’’, which Minivan News understands intends to encourage “positive discrimination” towards involving women in politics.

Haleem said more than 1000 delegates took part in the congress including observers.

“All delegates were selected through primaries, unlike how it is done in other political parties in the country,’’ he said. “Other parties just call their friends to be delegates or hold a little primary at the event.”

Speaking at the Congress, President Mohamed Nasheed outlined dates for the construction of housing, claiming he would lay the foundation for flats in Male’ on November 10, the foundation for 1000 flats in Hulhumale on November 11, and 500 flats in the atolls.

A further 1000 flats would be built with the assistance of Korean aid, he said.

He also noted that projects such as land reclamation, harbour development and sewerage works were not included in the manifesto, but were also being implemented. Harbour developments had been completed in 27 islands since the party took office, Nasheed said, while further harbour developments were currently occuring at 11 islands. Projects would commence in Hoarafushi, Ihavandhoo and Dhiffushi in November, he said.

Speaking on corruption, Nasheed noted that years of accumulated corruption could not be dismissed in two years. But, he said,  “a good governance system without torture is now being created in the Maldives. The government has done away with revenge.”

MDP’s election manifesto consists of five core pledges: ‘nationwide transport’, ‘affordable living costs’, ‘affordable housing’, ‘affordable quality healthcare’, and the ‘prevention of narcotics abuse and trafficking’.

Criticising the the government’s achievements, opposition Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) MP Ahmed Mahlouf claimed that the 40 percent implementation of the pledges announced at the congress “was more like five percent.”

“I think it’s very clearly not true,” he said. “What we saw at the MDP Congress was some deleagates criticising the President for giving dates for the launch of projects because they knew it was going to make it difficult for them to campaign.”

Mahlouf noted that while the number of poor registered in Male’ in 2008 was 2000, “now it has increased to 9000.”

“Nasheed also promised to bring down the price of goods – but now it costs Rf 300 for a kilogram of chilli. I was shocked.”

Mahlouf further claimed that the DRP had attempted “to help the MDP implement its manifesto by ensuring there was a free state media, run by a board determined by parliament, but they were against it.”

Mahlouf also noted that as for the promise to tackle corruption, “Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index now ranks the country next to Zimbabwe.”

The government contends the index reflects a growing awareness that corruption is a problem.

Image: Maurouf Khaleel