MDP and JP to begin official talks tonight

Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim has invited all opposition parties to begin talks on defending the Constitution.

After officially leaving the Progressive Coalition earlier this week, the party has invited the largest minority party, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), to talks at the JP’s headquarters tonight, explained party spokesman Ali Solih.

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.

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, said the party through its official twitter account.

Following MDP party President Mohamed Nasheed’s calls for immediate all-party talks last week, the party earlier today announced its representatives for the proposed discussions.

The JP has also announced that it will be represented by former transport minister Ameen Ibrahim, Dr Hussain Rasheed, Abdulla Kamaludeen, MP Ali Hussein, MP Hussein Mohamed, and former Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz.

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 Progressive Party of Maldives until May last year, after having given crucial backing to Abdulla Yameen in the 2013 presidential race.

Yameen eventually beat MDP candidate Nasheed in a much-delayed poll after the Supreme Court’s controversial annulment of the first round following complaints lodged by third-placed candidate Gasim.

However, after friction between the coalition partners during the Majlis campaign, Gasim’s decision to stand against the PPM’s candidate for Majlis speaker in May prompted the PPM decided to unilaterally expel the JP from the ruling coalition.

Gasim’s subsequent opposition to key government legislation was accompanied by threats against both his businesses and his person, leading the JP to accuse opposition politicians of intimidation tactics.

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

Both parties have accused the government of repeated breaches of the Constitution and attempts to influence independent institutions. Prominent incidents cited include the recent, replacement of the auditor general, the removal of two Supreme Court judges.

Nasheed last week urged President Yameen to convene all party talks which include the Progressive Party of Maldives’ leader and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Yameen has this week met with both former President Dr Mohamed Waheed and former President Gayoom, with whom the current political climate was discussed, said the President’s Office.

PPM officials were not responding to calls at the time of press.

President’s Gayoom’s former party, the DRP, has been largely dormant since its most prominent members switched to the MDP after the 2013 presidential elections.

After announcing a rebrand effort in the month following the elections, it failed to win any seats in the subsequent Majlis elections, and just a single council seat in the local elections.

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


PPM dismisses rumors Gayoom may leave party

The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) has dismissed rumors that President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom may leave the party as “baseless and false”.

“We assure our beloved members [Gayoom] will not leave this party and join another party or take on any position in another party,” said a statement released on Tuesday (November 18).

The former president of 30 years was elected as PPM president at the party’s 2012 congress, a year after his acrimonious split from the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP).

The statement came in response to rumors Gayoom may rejoin the DRP, local media have said.

Speculation of tension between Gayoom and his half brother President Abdulla Yameen has grown since the PPM parliamentary group’s decision to reject Gayoom’s choice for the post of Prosecutor General, his nephew Maumoon Hameed.

However, the two have presented a united front with joint-appearances at party functions on PPM’s third anniversary in power.

Gayoom on November 13 congratulated Yameen for allegedly fulfilling majority of pledges in the PPM manifesto and said Maldivians had found new life in Yameen’s presidency.

Gayoom had founded the DRP in 2005 and ran on the party ticket for the 2008 multiparty presidential election. When he lost, Gayoom retired from politics and handed over the party reigns to him former running mate Ahmed Thasmeen Ali.

He was then given the title of Zaeem or Honorary leader.

However in April 2011, Gayoom established the Zaeem DRP or Z-DRP as a separate branch of DRP amidst growing tension between himself and Thasmeen. He went on to  establish the PPM in September 2011.

Thasmeen defected to the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) during the presidential elections of September 2013 after he and former President Dr Mohamed Waheed gained only five percent of the popular vote.

MP ‘Colonel’ Mohamed Nasheed – who had defected to the DRP from the MDP – ahead of the presidential vote took over DRP and announced a rebrand effort. He has said the next DRP congress will see a resolution to award Gayoom the title of Zaeem again.

Nasheed has previously described the party as now being in the ‘ICU’, accusing the party’s former leadership of leaving behind MVR10million in debt (US$ 64,5161) and abandoning the party with its data and assets.

Related to this story

PPM MPs to vote Muhthaz for PG in defiance of party leader’s appeal

Gayoom’s new party to be called Progressive Party of Maldives

DRP announces rebrand effort


Gayoom denies meeting DRP leader

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has denied meeting acting leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), Mohamed ‘Colonel Nasheed, at the latter’s resort during the Eid holidays, reports Raajje TV.

An MP from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) told the opposition-aligned private broadcaster on condition of anonymity that Gayoom – leader of the PPM – posted a message on a viber group of the party’s parliamentary group denying reports by newspaper Haveeru last week.

“The story in today’s Haveeru about a supposed meeting between me and DRP vaguthee [acting] leader in Kanifushi resort is totally false,” read Gayoom’s message.

“True, my family and I are spending a short family holiday at Atmosphere Kani. But no political activity has taken place. The story is fabricated from A to Z.”

Citing a source from the resort, Haveeru reported on Thursday (July 31) that Gayoom’s children – Farish Maumoon and Gassan Maumoon – as well as son-in-law Ahmed Nadheem also participated in lengthy secret talks with Nasheed over the course of two days.

The local daily further claimed that the PPM parliamentary group’s decision to endorse Muthaz Muhsin as the new prosecutor general in defiance of Gayoom’s appeal for them to vote for his nephew Maumoon Hameed has caused divisions within the ruling party.

Former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Nasheed – who switched to the DRP in March 2013 – has also denied holding discussions with Gayoom regarding the DRP’s future, informing Raajje TV that he only welcomed Gayoom to the resort and offered due respect to a former president.

Nasheed had told Haveeru that there was “no reason” for Gayoom to return to the party he founded in 2005.

Nasheed took over as DRP leader following the en masse departure of the party’s former leadership to the MDP.

Despite a rebranding effort with Nasheed at the helm, the party failed to win any seats in this year’s parliamentary and local council elections.

Gayoom had meanwhile left the party in 2011 following a dispute with former leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and formed the PPM with the loyalist Z-DRP faction.


Q&A: MP Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed – Nolhivaram constituency

In a series of interviews to lead into the the 2014 parliamentary elections – scheduled for March 22nd – Minivan News will be conducting interviews with incumbent MPs.

All 77 sitting members have been contacted, from across the political spectrum, to be asked a standardised set of questions with additional topicals. The interviews will be published as and when they are received.

Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed represents the Nolhivaram constituency and is currently interim leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP).

Daniel Bosley: What made you enter the political arena and how?

Mohamed Nasheed: During the 2004 reform movement, I was actually a columnist in Minivan Daily and that column was very popular among the readers – I was writing a political column called ‘shoot’, [which means] something like new beginning. When there was a vacancy in the the People’s Special Majlis – when Mr Ibra Ismail resigned – to go to the parliament, I was asked to run in the by-election. That was in late 2004, early 2005.

DB: Based on your attendance and work in this ending term, how would you judge your performance as an MP?

MN: I have almost one hundred percent attendance and I’m happy with what we have achieved in this parliament because, despite this is a hung parliament, and politically divided, and even though we are sitting with MPs who are not qualified to do some sort of legislatures we were able to actually involve them and get something out from this. I am quite happy with what we have got and with what we have achieved.

DB: What are the main committees you worked on? What particular bills did you focus on?

MN: I’m actually in a committee where no bills are going – I’m in the Public Accounts Committee, and I’m also the chair of the Petitions Committee.

DB: What would you say are the biggest achievements within your term; in terms of what you have accomplished for your constituency and the country as a whole?

MN: The biggest achievement is the tax regime. We have changed the whole system and now that people are aware about the taxes even though we have not finished all these bills, still we can get good revenue through tax. That’s one good achievement and also one big achievement is the penal code. Even though it’s still in the committee, before the end of this term we will be able to make it as a law. There are a few small things that we need to scrutinise, fine tune.

DB: What would you say is the biggest mistake or worst step you have taken in your political career? Why?

MN: Biggest mistake is the Supreme Court – definitely. I’m not saying that all the justices are not perfect, but the way we did it is not good. There was political will that day and everyone was awake at midnight and we passed a bill, and we amended that bill the same day, and the same day the president [Mohamed Nasheed] again gazetted it and published it. That was selected to the Supreme Court and we could have – if we had more time, if we had more compromise – we could have achieved a better Supreme Court with democratic fundamentals.

Today what I feel is that the Supreme Court as a whole is lacking the democratic fundamentals. They might even charge me with contempt of court for making this statement.

DB: Are you taking the optional committee allowance of an additional MVR20,000? Why or why not?

MN: What I believe is that People’s Majlis salary is fine, but at the same time what I believe is that civil servant salaries are very very low. So, we need to have an efficient civil service in order to minimise the number of people serving in the civil service. I mean we need to have multi-tasked people, we need to have technology and thereby we have fewer staffs and we can give them better salaries.

DB: But the committee allowance for MPs, is that something you’ve been taking?

MN: Yes and no.

DB: What is your view about parliamentarians and other public servants declaring their financial assets publicly for the electorate to be able to refer to?

MN: I think it’s good – then corruption and some misconduct could be minimised. We can’t totally get rid of these things, but we can minimise these things.

DB: Are you re-contesting in the next elections? Why? What do you hope to accomplish should you be elected for a new term?

MN: Yes. I had a second thought that I would not run for the parliament because this is my ninth year in public office, so I thought I would not run. But when I see some of the candidates who are running – some people who are running for party primaries in some parties – I think it’s my moral obligation to be in the parliament.

Otherwise, I feel that our parliament might lack intellectual people and parliament might lack sensible people. When we don’t have sensible and intellectual people in our parliament, we can’t have sensible laws and we will have bias. Now, we can’t see through pink-painted glass or yellow-painted glass, we have see through see-through glass – then only can we see it clearly.

DB: What do you think the DRP’s role will be in the next five years?

MN: DRP is all the time declining because after President [Maumoon Abdul] Gayoom left, we had a rough time, and just after the 2013 presidential election out leader Thasmeen Ali had also left the party. Now I’m working as the interim leader, but what we are trying to do is salvage this thing from the storm, and right now we have achieved a lot of milestones.

What I believe is that we are the third biggest party in the Maldives and we have our organs, our island branches functioning, and we have our grassroots support. The thing is that, in Malé, we are very low – and all the political activity happens in Malé. But if you want to have a rally in an island or an atoll, it will be easy for us. So we have to build everything from scratch.

I can see that the DRP is the only party with an ideology because PPM [Progressive Party of Maldives] is President Gayoom’s party and everybody knows that, and MDP [Maldivian Democratic Party] is MDP’s party and everybody knows that. Definitely, you have to ask the question with JP [Jumhooree Party] – JP means Gasim, Gasim means JP. Sun Travel Shiyam’s party [Maldivian Development Alliance] – we don’t know the name of the party.

In time there will be about six parties and the only party with an ideology is Adhaalath, but because of the scholars and because they are using religion as a political tool, people have lost faith in these scholars. So, DRP is the only party with an ideology.

DB: What improvements do you feel the 18th Majlis will need to make to improve as an institution?

MN: We need to elect educated people. We need to elect people with experience. If we elect a bunch of uneducated people, irrational people, to the parliament, it’s very difficult to work with these kinds of people. Sometimes when we stay overnight and build a lot of hard work on the budget, some might come and mess up the place for all the wrong reasons. We can’t entertain these things – for the last nine years we have been entertaining these things. We need calm, we need to go forward in order to achieve something in the parliament as well.

I believe in the 17th parliament we have done a lot but if we can get more educated people there, they will behave properly and they will achieve something. They will at least have some sense of responsibility – the problem is that they don’t have any sense of responsibility.

DB: What are your thoughts on party switching? Do you think it undermines the party system?

MN: I have switched my party – I feel that because we are a very young democracy, we don’t have parties with political ideologies, this is the main reason that we switch parties. Back in 2004, as a young person, I wanted President Gayoom to go and that a new president should come but still between President Yameen and President Nasheed, I’d choose President Nasheed because I think he is a dynamic and energetic person who can change everything here in the Maldives.

What I feel is that all these systems are hijacked by a few individuals and people like me with ambition and who want to achieve bigger political portfolios, we don’t have the space to move around. In time to come there will be two or three parties – I believe that will be PPM, MDP, and DRP – other parties will vanish.


Q&A: MP Rozaina Adam – Thulusdhoo constituency

In a series of interviews to lead into the the 2014 parliamentary elections – scheduled for March 22nd – Minivan News will be conducting interviews with incumbent MPs.

All 77 sitting members have been contacted, from across the political spectrum, to be asked a standardised set of questions with additional topicals. The interviews will be published as and when they are received.

As part of the series, Minivan News interviewed MP Rozaina Adam,

MP Rozaina represents the Thulusdhoo constituency of Kaafu Atoll and was elected on a Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) ticket, she joined opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in November 2013.

Ahmed Rilwan: What made you enter the political arena and how?

Rozaina Adam: My family was involved in politics – my father was an MP and my mother served in the Special Majlis. So I have been interested in politics since childhood. But the system back then didn’t make it easy for anyone new to enter politics, but the introduction of party system provided many with this opportunity. So in 2008 I decided to run for People’s Majlis the following year.

AR: Based on your attendance and work in this ending term, how would you judge your performance as an MP?

RA: I am very satisfied with the work I did.

AR: What are the main committees you worked on? What particular bills did you focus on?

RA: I am currently in the Committee on Independent Institutions, National Security Committee, and the 241 [security services oversight] Committee. I am serving as the vice chair in all three committees now and the Chair of Sexual Harassment Bill Review Committee.

Earlier I was in the National Development Committee, and was the Chair of Domestic Violence Bill Review Committee as well as the subcommittee that reviewed the Anti-Torture Bill.

As for bills, I introduced the Domestic Violence Bill and proposed an amendment to the Majlis regulation to create a dedicated committee for women and children’s issues. I was working on the Sexual Harassment Bill when I discovered that the government is also preparing one, so I introduced the bill on behalf of the government.

I have also drafted a bill on medical negligence, it has been sent to the Ministry of Health for comments. It is still pending as I had to send it to each new minister with the government changing thrice recently.

I proposed an amendment to the Maldives Family Regulation to increase the child support payments, another amendment for the Decentralization Act to reserve a seat for women in the local councils and to arrange allowances for women’s committees. And the [second] amendment to the Public Finance Act requiring [the government] to send the budget to People’s Majlis earlier. These are the main bills that I worked on.

AR: What would you say are the biggest achievements within your term – in terms of what you have accomplished for your constituency and the country as a whole?

RA: I was able to include all major needs of my constituency in the budget, but there is not much I could do about the government halting some of these projects.

During my term in Majlis, harbors of K.Huraa and K.Dhiffushi were completed. Thuslusdhoo land reclamation and harbor projects were included in the budget, water and sewage system of Himmafushi and Thulusdhoo were completed. A set of classrooms were constructed in Huraa, work is in progress for classrooms in Thulusdhoo and Dhiffushi.

One major issue that my constituency faced was the controversy that followed the changing of Atoll Council from Thulusdhoo [when the Atoll Council decided to move the office from Maafushi to Thulusdhoo the government fought against it]

I see that as a major achievement. Even as an opposition member I worked against the government – with DRP members – to find a solution to that problem within the Majlis.

My main focus in Majlis was mostly women’s development issues. I focused more on such issues because only five out of 77 MPs are women. There are plenty of people to focus on other issues, but only a few people focus on women’s issues. So I chose to give more attention to that area.

For instance I put a lot of  pressure to fast-track the Sexual Harassment Bill, especially during the Fahmy controversy [when President of the Civil Service Commission Mohamed Fahmy was accused of sexually harassing one of his staff].

I was in DRP back then, however I supported that [of removing Fahmy for sexual harassment] even though it was MDP [Maldivian Democratic Party] that proposed it. It was because of my vote in the committee [ Committee on Independent Institutions ] that it was passed [to remove Fahmy]. And due to this the issue of sexual harassment came to national attention, I see that as a huge achievement.

AR: What would you say is the biggest mistake or worst step you have taken in your political career? Why?

RA: I can’t say it was completely wrong, but in hindsight, I am not entirely happy that I supported President Maumoon [Abdul Gayoom]. When I look back now it seems so, but my decision was based on the information I received at the time.

Later I found from President Maumoon’s words and actions, especially what he said when Theemuge [Presidential Residence] audit report was published and how he justified it. It was all very different from the reality which was revealed when the original bills and documents were sent to the Majlis.

There is nothing else that I see as mistake. I was in DRP because I accepted the party policies. But with the presidential elections we realized that DRP’s goals cannot be achieved as it still remains a party created by Maumoon. I decided to change to MDP because I believe the political sphere will actually have [just] MDP and PPM. And I don’t believe PMM was established to serve the people.  We know exactly why they left us [DRP], it was to sustain President Maumoon’s family rule. So I believe a lot of good can be achieved for the people through MDP. If we look in to the background of MDP we can see there are opportunities for everyone in this party.

AR: Are you taking the optional committee allowance of an additional MVR20,000? Why or why not?

RA: I have no personal feelings towards it, neither for nor against it. But I do take it. For the most part of my term I served as an opposition MP, so it was tough to manage problems faced by my constituents.

MP s don’t have to provide financial assistance to their constituents, but we should understand that it still is the established culture in Maldives, it doesn’t seem to be changing. It is hard to ignore when someone approach for assistance especially for medical purposes. The common mindset is that MPs are supposed to provide this assistance, so we have to.

AR: What is your view about parliamentarians and other public servants declaring their financial assets publicly for the electorate to be able to refer to?

RA: I don’t have any problem with that.

AR: Are you re-contesting in the next elections? Why? What do you hope to accomplish should you be elected for a new term?

RA: For the next Majlis I am running for Addu City’s Meedhoo constituency seat. I chose that constituency because my mother is from Addu City, and as a person who fights for gender equality I don’t believe that people only belong to their father’s island. So I believe I belong Addu City as much as I belong to Malé City.

We can see that instead of developing, Addu City is going backwards. It used to be one of the most developed regions in Maldives even during the early days of President [Ibrahim] Nasir. But day after day more people had to migrate to Malé City for various reasons and the place now seems abandoned. It is because there are no basic services. Even now, while we call it a city,  there are no water and sewage services, roads are not repaired, electricity services is weak. If we take a look at education and health we don’t see services adequate for a city. I am going face the challenging task of develop Addu City as a city, doing whatever could be done within the Majlis.

If I am elected, my vision is to propose a bill to Majlis that would set standards and detail the services that should be available in a city. I wish to state in the bill that basic services – such as water, sewerage, repairing of roads – should be provided within a certain period of being declared as a city. Addu City should have university campuses, have services such as renewal of ID cards, paying migrant worker visa fees if it is city. Actually the services provided in Malé City is also not that good. So all cities will benefit from this bill.

AR: What improvements do you feel the 18th Majlis will need to make to improve as an institution?

RA: I think MPs should work more responsibly in serving the people through the Majlis. Speed up the committee stage of bills.

And we see that it is the government, and not MPs, who propose most bills to the Majlis. There are some difficulties in doing this. We don’t get the necessary legal assistance from our Majlis, in other countries there are legal assistants to help MPs draft bills. We as MPs discuss the issues and how those issues have to be dealt with, but drafting a bill is a technical work. Currently we have to pay private firms to draft bills, and it is costly.

I think this is something the secretariat should work on, there should be a drafting department capable of providing this assistance.

AR: What are your thoughts on party switching? Do you think it undermines the party system?

RA: It does not undermine party system. Party is actually a political ideology, so if a person’s thinking changes and that the current party does not follow the same line of thinking, one has to go where that thinking exists.

I don’t believe in changing party for money. But changing to a party that fit’s one’s political thinking and ideology is a right, and it is a right guaranteed by the constitution for every citizen.

When the general thinking of majority membership of the party varies from mine, if I stay in that party I will always have to work against the common members of the party.

There are not much of difference ideological between MDP and DRP, especially DRP leadership. The split up came during the presidential elections when it came down to MDP versus PPM – DRP had to take a side. We found that common members wanted to side with PPM, but most people in DRP leadership has a thinking similar to MDP.

I assure to all members of MDP that I came to MDP because I wanted to. And despite what some anti-campaigners say, I did not change party for the seat and I will never change to PPM.

AR: What do you see as major challenges for political participation of women in the Maldives?

RA: There should be equal rights, and you could say women can run for parliament and they can also get elected even without reserving seats. But we can see the results, that it is not the reality. If that was the case people would be elected equally [from both genders].

Another issue is financing campaigns, most cannot fund campaigns by themselves. We need to find ways to provide funding for women who compete in elections. The government also need to create awareness and encourage women to get into politics.
But we can’t reserve seats without amending the constitution. Another way to deal with this is for parties to encourage women to compete in their strongholds. If I’m elected I will do whatever is necessary for the empowerment of women.


DRP announces rebrand effort

The Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has called for submissions for a new party color, logo and slogan in an effort to re-brand its image.

Once the largest political party in the Maldives, the DRP’s strength has declined radically after founder and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s split from the party in 2011.

The party’s elected council has now been dissolved with the leadership’s defection to the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and government aligned Jumhooree Party (JP).

Acting leader and MP ‘Colonel’ Mohamed Nasheed has previously described the party as now being in the “ICU”, accusing the party’s leadership of leaving behind MVR10million in debt (US$ 64,5161) and abandoning the party with its data and assets.

Speaking to the press yesterday, Nasheed said the party would offer MVR200,000 (US$ 12903) for the re-brand effort. Applications will be accepted up until December 15.

Nasheed said the party’s current color blue is not visible from afar. Furthermore, the current logo of a coconut frond and boat on a blue backdrop is complex, and hence, difficult to duplicate and print on campaign materials. The new logo must not contain more than three colors, and must retain its original content even if re-sized.

The new logo, slogan and color will be approved and new leadership elected during the party’s next congress.

Meanwhile, the DRP is undergoing an internal audit and has called for any party to whom the DRP owes money for materials or services rendered to come forward within 10 days with the necessary documents to prove the claim.

Nasheed has also pledged to offer the annulled position of “Supreme Leader” to former President Gayoom.

The title was annulled during the party’s April 2013 congress with a 602-10 vote.

Nasheed said he believed Gayoom had retired from politics and must be honored as DRP’s founder for “historical purposes.”

“We believe his sacrifice in founding the party must be recognized,” he said.

Recognising former leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali’s services to the party, Nasheed said he excluded Thasmeen in his criticism of the party’s former leadership and from accusations of stealing from the party.

The party intends win the mayorship of Male’ City Council and win at least 15 seats in parliament, Nasheed said.

Nasheed defected from the MDP to join the DRP in March this year claiming that the MDP is undisciplined.

According to the Elections Commission the DRP has 19,038 registered members at present.


PPM member asks Supreme Court to remove DRP leader from parliament

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) council member and prominent lawyer Mohamed ‘Wadde’ Waheed has filed a case at the Supreme Court requesting the court disqualify Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Leader and MP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali from parliament.

Wadde yesterday told local media that Thasmeen took a MVR2.9million (US$188,067) loan from Parliament Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim and did not pay the money back in accordance with a Civil Court ruling.

Nazim filed a case at the Civil Court in 2011 to recover MVR1.9million (US$124,513) unpaid out of the MVR2.9 Million (US$188,067) Thasmeen took from him as a loan.

Article 73(c) of the constitution states: “A person shall be disqualified from election as, a member of the People’s Majlis, or a member of the People’s Majlis immediately becomes disqualified, if he has a decreed debt which is not being paid as provided in the judgment.”

Wadde said that, although Thasmeen had now paid all the money, he did not pay according to the Civil Court ruling, which required the repayment of MVR320,000 (US$20,779) each month for six consecutive months to clear the debt.

The Civil Court ruling came in April 2011, with Thasmeen unsuccessfully appealing the case at the High Court the same month.

In June 2012, Nazim filed another case at the Civil Court because Thasmeen was not paying as per the Civil Court resulting in the court issuing a warrant freezing all the bank accounts of Thasmeen and ordering the Immigration Department to hold Thasmeen’s passport.

Lawyer Wadde was chosen to contest the Kaashidhoo parliamentary by-election for the PPM in March 2012, before the party decided to support now-MDP MP Abdulla Jabir – then a member of the Jumhooree Party – prompting public criticism from Wadde.

The lawyer was also at odds with his party’s senior leadership last month after filing a case in the Supreme Court challenging opposition MDP candidate and former President Mohamed Nasheed’s candidacy.

In October Wadde also submitted a case to the Supreme Court seeking a ruling against the motion passed by parliament to appoint Speaker Abdulla Shahid as interim head of state in the instance that an elected president cannot be installed by the constitutionally mandated date, November 11.

The same day, Wadde also submitted another case to the court asking it to rule that the MDP MP Ahmed Hamza’s appointment to the judicial watchdog – the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) – was conducted in breach of the constitution.

Last night, the MDP issued a statement condemning the filing of the case against Thasmeen, alleging that the PPM was trying to undermine the constitution through the Supreme Court.

The party called upon the PPM to stop all of its works against the spirit of democracy.

The MDP said the PPM was using the Supreme Court to defeat political opponents because is understood that it had been defeated in the political field.

The Supreme Court ruled on October 24 that both MDP MP Ali Azim DRP MP Mohamed Nashiz be stripped of their parliamentary seats over decreed debt. The ruling was subsequently rejected by the Parliamentary Privileges Committee, with scuffles ensuing between the military and MPs at the subsequent Majlis session.

The current MDP and DRP alignment constitutes a simple majority in parliament.

The party also said that the citizens would not allow the PPM to use courts under the influence of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to deprive the MDP of its majority in parliament.


Deputy minister becomes latest DRP withdrawal from government

Deputy Minister for Economic Development Shiham Mohamed Waheed has become the latest Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) member to withdraw from the government since the delay of Saturday’s presidential election.

Party leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali on Saturday evening declared that the DRP council had decided to withdraw after “expressing discontent over Government’s actions in election related matters.”

Shiham follows Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hassan Saeed, who resigned yesterday citing the same reasons.

In a parting shot, Hassan Saeed told local media that the government had obstructed the election, criticising in particular the new requirement for foreign observers and journalists to obtain special visas and Foreign Ministry approval before entering the country.

Sun Online has also reported that DRP member and Chairman of Maldives Post Limited Ahmed Nizam has also resigned.

After forming a coalition with incumbent President Dr Mohamed Waheed for the first round of the election – in which Waheed received only five percent of the vote –  the DRP quickly switched allegiances to the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate Mohamed Nasheed going into the second round.

The DRP’s decision was quickly followed by the dismissal of State Minister for Health Ali Shareef, allegedly for his role in his party’s decision to back Nasheed.

After the annulment of the first round, DRP leader Thasmeen maintained that his party’s supporters should back the MDP candidate in subsequent poll.


Week in review: September 13-21

Following a full week of hearings into the Jumhooree Party’s election complaints, the High Court granted the party’s request to view the offending register – under supervision- though the party is still seeking greater access in order to prove its claims regarding fraudulent voters. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court accepted to hear the JP’s case seeking to annul the first round altogether.

After hearing the claims of former Attorney General – and vice-presidential candidate – Dr Hassan Saeed, which included deceased, repeated, and fake voters, the court ordered that the Elections Commission (EC) hand over the voter registry for inspection. Repeated calls to respect the outcome of the election from across the international community failed to impress Dr Saeed.

Maintaining that all allegations are without merit, the EC continued to prepare for the upcoming second round – scheduled for September 28 – officially announcing the first round results despite the JP’s attempts to delay.

The barrage of criticism, particularly from Gasim’s own Villa Television (VTV), led the EC to warn the Majlis that national security could be damaged by “unfounded claims of corruption”.

The national broadcasting commission began looking into VTV’s reporting of unsubstantiated content this week, whilst the police finished looking into the content of the EC’s rubbish, finding no incriminating documents.

Further protests against the EC have been promised by religious civil society groups. The conservative Jamiyathuh Salaf group singled out the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) for criticism in a nationally televised sermon that resulted in broadcasting commission being called before the Majlis once more.

The police appeared to have been drawn into the dispute as an alleged police intelligence document emerged on social media, alleging “some opportunity for fraud” and “illegal voting”. The report was quickly disowned by the police and condemned by the MDP, who also called the Majlis to reconvene tomorrow (September 22) in order to stop “undue influence of political parties in the judiciary”.

Elsewhere in the country, the police in Addu City searched a number of homes as part of their election security operation, whilst fears over black magic persisted in Guraidhoo – the local council refusing use of the school for polling.

President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s Gaumee Ittihad Party (GIP) followed its former coalition partner – the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) in choosing a candidate to back in the endangered run-off. Waheed’s party chose to support the Progressive Party of Maldives’ candidate in round two, whilst the DRP leaders were paraded before MDP supporters following last week’s decision to lend support to former President Mohamed Nasheed in the race – a decision that resulted in the sacking of DRP minister Ali Shareef.

Nasheed visited the house of JP leader Gasim on Thursday though the JP insisted no decisions on future alliances would be made before the courts have finished their work. When addressing a youth forum earlier in the week, Nasheed had expressed confidence that Maldivian democracy could withstand a handful of coups and rigged elections.

Disabled Maldivians demonstrated this week against the impending closure of the country’s only school catering to those with special needs, whilst the pervasiveness of politics was revealed as deaf interpreter Shaheez Abdulla gave an account of his recent stabbing.

The ongoing case of former Civil Service Commission Chair saw his access to the commission as well as his salary revoked after Mohamed Fahmy Hassan had continued to come into his former workplace.

Finally, details were revealed of the government’s cancellation payments to forensic accountants Grant Thornton as well as the circumstances of Swedish nationa Filip Eugen Petre’s flight from the country following his acquittal of charges relating to the deaths of a British couple in 2011.