Former MDP President Dr Didi arrested

Former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) President Dr Ibrahim Didi was arrested on Wednesday for attending opposition protests in violation of a Criminal Court order, reports online news outlet CNM.

Didi was arrested during a protest on February 27 and accused of obstructing police duty. After being held in remand detention for 10 days, the former fisheries minister was released on March 10 on the condition that he not attend protests for 30 days.

Police said Didi was arrested today in connection to an ongoing investigation.

Most people arrested during the ongoing opposition protests are released on the condition that they do not participate in protests for a period determined by the court. Human Rights NGO Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) has described the move as unconstitutional, arguing the condition violated the right to freedom of assembly and expression.


Jumhooree Party leaders, former Islamic Minister Dr Bari join MDP

Four senior members of the Jumhooree Party (JP) have quit the party following the party council’s decision yesterday to endorse the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate Abdulla Yameen.

Former JP President Dr Ibrahim Didi, Spokesperson Moosa Rameez, Campaign Manager Dr Ahmed Shamheed and Male’ City Councillor Ahmed Hameed ‘Fly’, as well as former Islamic Minister Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari signed for the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) today.

Speaking to the press at the MDP office this afternoon, former President Mohamed Nasheed said the support of the new members would boost the party’s campaign ahead of Saturday’s run-off election against the PPM candidate.

“We wanted to work together with the Jumhooree Party only for their support. We know there are people of other ideologies in the party. So it would have been very difficult to implement our manifesto and our policies with people of that ideology. In my view, what has happened now has been for the best,” the MDP presidential candidate said.

Dr Didi – former MDP president – said he returned to the party to ensure consolidation of democracy in the Maldives.

“The Maldives is divided into ideologies, that is the reformist ideology and the 30-year autocratic family rule ideology,” he said, adding that JP leaders had also worked for reform.

“We have to go forward, go forward swiftly, we cannot take a U-turn,” he said.

Didi stressed that he did not have “any disagreement with or animosity” towards JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim.

“To tell the truth, 80 percent of Honourable Gasim’s heart is still with the MDP. This is a very clear reality. Even if he had to make a decision under duress, he is a person who worked in the front ranks since 1984 to bring reform to the Maldives,” he said.

Asked to elaborate on his claim that Gasim decided to back Yameen under duress, Didi said he could reveal details without the business tycoon’s consent.

Didi also claimed that he joined the MDP to ensure “Gasim’s safety and security.”

Didi noted that Gasim had said at a JP rally that most of the party’s members shared MDP’s reformist ideology, adding that he was “certain” that MDP would win the election on Saturday.

Gasim had previously said that 60 percent of his supporters would not vote for Yameen even if he endorsed the PPM candidate.

Nasheed also expressed confidence that the MDP would garner the 6,000 votes needed from Gasim’s 48,131 votes to win the election.

Asked if fears of a return to autocracy were well founded, Didi said there were “signs” of the PPM seeking absolute control over the judiciary and undermining democracy with a family dynasty.

JP formed to change the 30-year government, say departees

Meanwhile, Dr Shamheed, former Transport Minister, said he became interested in politics during his school years as he had to pay a school fee while people of Male’ did not.

Shamheed said he decided to stick with the decision to support MDP in 2008 to establish democracy in the country.

“Gasim Ibrahim said three or four times in our council yesterday that it would be most comfortable for him, that he wanted to, and his heart desired going with President Nasheed,” he said, adding that he was “forced” to make the decision to back PPM.

Former JP city councillor Hameed said the JP was formed for the purpose of changing the 30-year government and called on young politicians in the party to join MDP to secure their political careers.

The JP council decision was subject to external influence, he alleged, which has “destroyed our efforts for reform.”

Echoing the sentiments of his colleagues, Moosa Rameez recalled that he was “a jail mate” of Gasim after the pair were arrested and incarcerated for over three months following a crackdown on an unprecedented pro-democracy demonstration on August 13, 2004.

He added that he made the decision to join the MDP “for Gasim’s sake.”

Dr Bari meanwhile said he had renewed hope for Islamic affairs under an MDP government based on the party’s manifesto, educated young religious scholars in the party, “and especially assurances from President Nasheed in his recent speeches.”

“Even though I wasn’t in the MDP before, I was in the MDP government for three years. President Nasheed is not a new person to me. What he has said about me is the truth. I would like to note at this opportunity that he has sincerely accepted my advice in the cabinet,” he said.

As a founder member of the Adhaalath Party, Bari said he had to leave because of the actions of its new leadership.

Islam could not be advanced without social and economic development, Bari said, adding that he decided to work with the MDP because of the party’s manifesto.

On Nasheed’s remarks that he was the only minister with “veto power,” Bari referred to cabinet decisions not to approve a tourism slogan and decline an offer to build a casino based on his advice.


PPM accuses JP of backing MDP, claims any vote for Gasim “a waste”

The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has suggested that Jumhooree Party (JP) presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim is “stuck” under the influence of advisers sympathetic to his political rivals.

Speaking to local media yesterday, PPM candidate Abdulla Yameen’s election agent suggested that former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) members within the JP were working to bring former President Mohamed Nasheed back to power.

“Lately we haven’t seen any campaigning from Gasim. Or Gasim pitching his policies or manifesto. All we’re seeing him do is complain and launch attacks against rival candidates,” Abdulla Ameen told local media.

After both the PPM and the JP had mooted the idea of backing a single anti-Nasheed candidate in the upcoming vote, it was revealed by local media yesterday that the parties could not agree on a candidate.

Whilst the JP were said to have favoured incumbent President Dr Mohamed Waheed as the sole candidate, Yameen was reported to have rejected the proposal.

Campaigning for the presidential elections resumed in earnest last week after the Supreme Court scheduled a new date for the first round, annulling the previous poll held on September 7.

The court’s investigation of potentially fraudulent voting was initiated by Gasim’s JP after it finished in third place, just 2,677 votes behind the PPM.

Ameen yesterday predicted that Gasim would again fail to reach the run-off in Saturday’s re-scheduled election, branding any vote cast for the JP candidate “a waste”.

Current JP President Ibrahim Didi – formerly president of the MDP – has dismissed the PPM’s claims.

“It’s not true,” he explained, “But the reality is that the majority of members of JP don’t support PPM leadership in their policies.”

Didi left the MDP in acrimonious circumstances shortly after Nasheed’s controversial resignation in February 2012.

MP Alhan Fahmy left the MDP at the same time after both he and Didi were accused of making statements contrary to the MDP’s official position that the February transfer of power had amounted to a coup.

Fahmy has since returned to the MDP, as has former JP member Abdulla Jabir – both of whom have a history of party switching.

Gasim and Nasheed met last month to discuss matters of national interest and the maintenance of stability and public order.

Speculation regarding potential coalitions would prove premature following the court’s recent verdict, though when asked following the pair’s meeting Gasim stated that he bore no personal animosity towards any other candidates.

Nasheed meanwhile said that Gasim was “a family friend since childhood” who has offered good advice and counsel throughout the years.

The JP were initially aligned with the MDP following Nasheed’s victory over 30-year autocrat Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in the 2008 presidential election.

The coalition lasted just a few months, with the JP later going on to form part of the ‘December 23’ coalition which led months of protest calling for the protection of Islam against the so-called irreligious policies of Nasheed’s government.

After subsequent unrest preceded a police mutiny and Nasheed’s resignation, the JP went on to form part of Dr Mohamed Waheed’s national unity government.

Waheed last week opted to withdraw from the re-scheduled election after receiving just five percent of the popular vote in the initial poll last month.


Issue of unratified cabinet members on Majlis agenda

The People’s Majlis will on Monday consider the appointment of the three cabinet members who failed to gain the approval of the Government Accountability Committee last month, local media has reported.

On June 11, Dr Mohamed Muiz, Dr Mariyam Shakeela, and Dr Ahmed Jamsheed failed to gain the approval of the 11 member committee, despite it being dominated by parties from the unity government, although the committee did approve Dhiyana Saeed as the Minister for Gender.

The posts for the new portfolios with the Ministries of Health, Housing, and Environment were left to the full Majlis to deliberate upon after pro-government Jumhoory Party (JP) MP Alhan Fahmy voted with the Maldivian Democratic Party committee members.

Just before the June vote, the JP announced its intention to forward its new President Dr Ibrahim Didi as Health Minister, the post currently held by Jamsheed whilst he awaits his re-appointment to the slightly altered post.


Dr Didi and Alhan join Jumhooree Party, back Gasim as President

Additional reporting by Musliha Hassan

Former President of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Dr Ibrahim Didi and former Vice President Alhan Fahmy today signed up with the Jumhoory Party (JP) of local business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim.

Former MDP Secretary General Hassan Shah also signed for JP today.

Speaking at the signing ceremony this morning, Alhan Fahmy claimed Gasim Ibrahim’s “experience and service to the country” made him the most capable candidate to rule the country under the current situation.

Beyond his resort interests, Gasim owns television station VTV, is an MP, and a member of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC). VTV was shown on the state broadcaster after it was stormed by police and opposition demonstrators on February 7, while Gasim and several other then-opposition leaders gathered in police headquarters.

Dr Didi and Alhan Fahmy were removed from the MDP leadership posts in a no-confidence vote supported by 95 percent of the MDP’s National Congress on April 30, after the pair were accused of making statements contradictory to the party’s official line concerning February 7.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Gasim stated that former president Nasheed resigned after realising that he would no longer be able to rule the country.

“At some point the police and the military declined to obey his orders. If that is a coup, then it is a coup,” he said.

Gasim further alleged that Nasheed had given illegal orders to the police and military, and arrested people unconstitutionally and refused to release them – a reference to the detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdullah Mohamed.

Gasim also said that Nasheed, who had resigned with the realisation that he had failed, was now trying to “hoodwink” people into thinking he had been ousted by a coup. He described Nasheed’s actions as poisoning the people.

Gasim said that Nasheed “should be arrested” by now and that with “the help of the constitution”, the current administration would arrest him.

Speaking at the ceremony, former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) President Dr Ibrahim Didi said today he had opened a new page in his political career and looked forward to working for the nation on a JP platform.

” The message that I want to give to my friends and my relatives, is that from the day my political career began, I have been working in the best interest of the nation,” Didi said.

” Unfortunately, all the doors had been closed in [the MDP], and today, I am joining Jumhooree Party because I believe that this platform has all the doors opened for me,” he added.

He said that he did not find any substantial reason to believe that the ousting of former president Mohamed Nasheed had been a coup, and that if JP started mocking people and harassing Islam, he would leave immediately.

Speaking in the ceremony, former Vice President of MDP, MP Alhan Fahmy said that the country would not be able to recover if people were to follow in Nasheed or [former president] Gayoom.

He further alleged that both Nasheed and Gayoom, with the help of their close friends and family, wanted to establish a system in which they could stay in power without limitations.

” I want to say to the young people of the country, those that create and build ideologies. That is, we wont be able to steer our nation to the destinations that we want, if we are to blindly follow a few individuals,” he said.

Fahmy joined Didi in claiming that the controversial transfer of power was not a coup and that it was legitimate.

Also in the ceremony, former Secretary General of MDP, Hassan Shah, claimed that all MDP members knew how to do was gather in a place and protest.

Minivan News tried contacting Fahmy and Didi, but they did not respond at time of press.

Local newspaper Haveeru earlier reported that both Didi and Fahmy insisted on retaining the Presidential and Vice-Presidential positions within their new party, which required an amendment to JP regulations.

Didi and Fahmy were removed from their posts in the MDP after being accused of making statements in contradiction of the party’s official line, concerning the the events that led to the resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed on February 7.

A motion of no confidence was supported by 95 percent of the MDP’s National Congress on April 30. Both men disputed the legitimacy of the process which led to their ousting.

Dr Didi filed a complaint with the Elections Commission (EC), which was later dismissed, whilst Fahmy staged a sparsely attended ‘free MDP’ rally, protesting against what he alleged was the negative influence of Nasheed on the party.


MDP prepares for internal elections while party’s frustrated former president decides to switch ship

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has announced that internal elections for the party chairmanship and presidential candidate will be held on June 16, with all members registered before April 12, 2012 eligible to vote.

Speaking to Minivan News, MDP’s Deputy Secretary General Ahmed Akram said that the decision was made in accordance with the article 95 of the party constitution and that details of eligible voters were available from the party’s website and the main headquarters of the party.

Article 95 of the party constitution states that a list of eligible voters must be made public 30 days prior to the election date.

Akram said that a total of 16 candidates will be taking part in all internal elections including the party presidential primaries and the party presidential elections. He also stated that about a thousand officials from the party would be involved in administering more than 260 ballot boxes.

“All the eligible voters will  be able to cast their vote for the positions of the party chairperson and the party’s presidential primaries, while the participants of the party’s last congress will be eligible to vote for the position of administrative deputy chairmanship,” he said.

“The votes would be counted in the presence of the observers at the polling station,” he added.

The party’s internal elections will also include the constituency presidential elections and the positions of some party constituency steering committees, to which only party members registered in the specific constituency will be able to cast their votes.

Elections for the party’s President and Vice President are due to be held on August 31, and several senior members of the party running for the posts have already started campaigning.

However earlier this week current interim chairperson of the party Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik, the sole contender for the position of the party chairpersonship elections, in a statement called on candidates running for the MDP Presidency and Vice Presidency to halt their campaigns, after the MDP National Council has questioned whether the positions were necessary.

Moosa said members of the council had questioned whether the responsibilities of the President and Vice President overlapped with chairmanship, and that some members were proposing that the positions be removed.

‘’Because of the way the MDP Charter states the responsibilities of the President and Vice President of the party, during the last meeting of the National Council members questioned whether the positions were necessary,” he said.

‘’Some members of the National Council proposed a meeting to remove the two positions from the party, while others called to amend the inconsistencies in the party’s charter that makes the responsibilities of the two positions conflict with the responsibilities of other positions in the party,” the statement read.

However, Akram stated that Moosa’s comments were not made in his official capacity of the party interim chairperson but in his personal capacity.

“It’s his opinion. The party’s elections committee is doing their job in accordance with the party constitution. If the elections are to be delayed, we would need to go for a congress and make necessary amendments to pave way for that,” he said.

Akram also said that no decision has been made regarding Moosa’s remarks, and the election to elect party president and vice president are scheduled to take place on the announced date.

The positions were declared vacant last month after the MDP National Council almost unanimously voted (95 percent) to oust President Dr Ibrahim Didi and Vice President and MP Alhan Fahmy in a no-confidence motion.

The MDP stated that the motion was triggered after both Dr Didi and Fahmy made public statements contradicting the party’s position as established by a resolution passed on February 8, recognising that former President Mohamed Nasheed and his cabinet were ousted illegitimately in a coup d’état.

Ousted party president decides to switch ship

Ousted party president Dr Didi has appealed against the decision claiming that it was illegal, however the matter was dropped by the Elections Commission (EC). Dr Didi yesterday told the local media that he has decided to join another political party.

Didi said Nasheed had “kicked” him out of the position, the same thing he had done to two former presidents Ibrahim ‘Ibra’ Ismail and Dr Mohamed Munavvar.

MDP has earlier denied the claims that Nasheed had undue influence over the party.

Didi further alleged that Nasheed was been trying to bring in former Party Chairperson Mariya Ahmed Didi to the position of the party president, after removing him from the position.

“[The no confidence motion] was taken because Nasheed wanted to bring in Mariya for the position of party president. From the moment I realised that Nasheed had done the same to remove me from the position just like he did with the former party presidents, and when I realised that all the doors had been closed to work in a democratic means, I decided to join another party,” said Didi.

Didi did not mention which party he would be joining but stated that he would consider the national interest and would join a party “that works in the best interest of the nation and the people.”

“I haven’t decided which party yet. But I will decide after consulting with several people and will consider the national interest,” he said.

Didi however said that he would still file the matter in court and would submit it as soon as he acquired the necessary documents from the MDP.

Didi was not responding at the time of press.


Dr Didi turns to courts over MDP presidency dispute, after EC drops complaint

Former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) President Dr Ibrahim Didi has said he will take concerns over the legitimacy of a no confidence motion taken against him last month to the country’s courts, after the Elections Commission (EC) dropped his complaint.

Dr Didi, along with former party Vice President Alhan Fahmy, were both voted out of their respective positions by the MDP’s National Council in a vote held on April 30. Both were dismissed through a no-confidence motion approved by 69 out of 73 votes – though Didi and Fahmy have been critical of the legality of the vote.

The MDP has contended that the dismissal case is “over” following the passing of the no-confidence motion against the president and vice president.

However, Dr Didi told Minivan News today that his lawyers were currently sending a case to the courts regarding his dismissal from the party’s presidency. He contends the no confidence motion was not taken in line with the MDP’s approved regulations registered with the EC at the time.

The comments were made as the EC this week said there was no action it could take relating to concerns raised by the former party president over the legality of the no-confidence motion against him.

EC Vice President Ahmed Fayaz claimed that the commission had not ruled on whether the MDP National Council had acted according to its regulations in dismissing the party president and vice president.  Nonetheless, Fayaz added there was also no evidence to suggest the dismissal was unconstitutional under basic regulations.

“Dr Didi has sent us a letter stating that his dismissal was against the party’s constitution; as a regulator we looked into the matter,” he said. “We can’t say anything about whether the party acted according to its regulations, but we have not found any grounds that it was unconstitutional under these rules.”

Fayaz said Dr Didi’s dismissal from the presidency did not also appear to be in breach of regulations that were put in place when multi-party democracy was established under the tenure of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in 2005.

Fayaz added that legislation that would oversee and outline correct procedures for operating political parties – such as no confidence motions against senior figures – did not currently exist.  He added that the lack of such a law limited the action that could be taken in such a case.

Though a law to oversee governance among the country’s parties is demanded under the present constitution, the bill had still yet to be passed by the Majlis, Fayaz said.

Court motion

Dr Ibrahim Didi said that, as the EC do not have legal grounds to rule on the no confidence motion, he would now work to submit a court case raising his concerns about the nature of his dismissal.

Dr Didi said he believed the MDP did not have proof to support claims that he has been dismissed legitimately in line with party regulations, which were amended on May 17, 2012.

“They [the party’s national council] do not have a legal right to take a no confidence motion under the registered regulations,” he added.

Dr Didi also raised concerns about the legitimacy of former President Nasheed’s exact position within the MDP following the controversial transfer of power in February that saw President Mohamed Waheed Hassan succeed him into office.

Didi raised issue that Nasheed retained leadership of the MDP despite no longer holding the position of Maldivian President.

Responding to Dr Didi’s criticisms, MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said his dismissal case was “over” as far as the party was concerned.

Ghafoor pointed to several factors such as the findings of the EC, as well as the 95 percent council voting majority that approved the no confidence motion.

“When you have a 95 percent vote of no confidence against you by the party’s national council, I would say the case is over,” he said. “However, Dr Didi does not want to accept this.”

Ghafoor claimed additionally that the issue of former President Nasheed’s leadership role in the party was “not controversial” and had been agreed by the MDP council on February 8.

“During a MDP National Council resolution passed on February 8, we have always maintained that this government – [President Waheed’s administration] illegally came to power,” he said. “We believe that Nasheed remains our legitimate president and leader and will continue to do so for the full five year-term he was elected.”

The issue of legitimacy over the no confidence moiton against Dr Didi has been divisive during the last month.  The India-sponsored all-party talks were stalled yet again as government-aligned parties raised the issue of legitimacy of the MDP’s present leadership.

However, Ghafoor alleged that Dr Didi’s main support as president of the MDP comes from government-aligned political figures such as former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM). He went on to question the long-term success in relying on rival political organisations to support one’s candidacy.

“I think Dr Didi should not count on Gayoom’s supporters to back him [for the MDP presidency],” Ghafoor claimed.


MDP National Council votes resoundingly for change in leadership

The Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) National Council has declared a lack of confidence in the leadership of the party’s President, former Fisheries Minister Dr Ibrahim Didi, and its Vice-President, former Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) MP Alhan Fahmy.

At a meeting this afternoon at Dharubaaruge, 69 of 73 votes cast (almost 95 percent) were in support of the no-confidence motion for both Didi and Fahmy’s leadership. Four members abstained from voting for either motion.

Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, the newly-elected Secretary General of the Party’s Parliamentary Group and International Spokesperson who submitted the motion, said the issue was “political” rather than “personal”.

“This was a solemn occasion and I took no pleasure in it. But it was a good day for the party and a good day for democracy. We have shown that the largest party in this country can act democratically,” said Ghafoor.

The MDP stated that the motion was triggered after both Dr Didi and Fahmy made public statements contradicting the party’s position established following a resolution passed on February 8, recognising that former President Mohamed Nasheed and his cabinet were ousted by illegitimate means through a coup d’état.

The MDP maintained that as the transfer of power was illegal, former President Nasheed and his cabinet should continue to sit in the National Council as senior members of government.

A similar vote had been proposed earlier in the month, with the National Council deciding to conduct further investigations into the supposed manipulation of the party’s constitution on this occasion.

The party member responsible for this earlier motion, Chair of Elections Committee Ibrahim Waheed, said at the time: “The reason for the submission was that some of the party’s leaders have been issuing statements and interviews against the MDP’s Constitution.”

Ghafoor reported that Fahmy had spoken at the meeting, requesting more information on his alleged misdemeanours.

“He claimed the charges were untrue and asked me for a more detailed explanation. I said that we should leave the decision to the membership,” reported Ghafoor.

“I proposed the motion but I did it for the security and protection of the party,” he said.

Dr Didi was not present at the meeting this afternoon. Neither Didi nor Alhan were available for comment, although Alhan posted on Twitter that is was “a bad day for democracy”, shortly after the close of the meeting.

Dr Didi told Minivan News earlier today that the nature of the motion went against established precedents, arguing that the holding on such meetings must first be discussed with the President or Vice-President of the party.

“I will not participate in today’s meeting even though I can as a former cabinet member, because I do not believe that the cabinet is legitimate. The party constitution states that the Party President has to form the party cabinet,” he said.

Ghafoor had cited  article 30, clause (f), of the MDP’s constitution which states that the National Council is able “to debate and assess the confidence of the President of the Party or the Vice President of the Party or the Chairperson or a Deputy Chairperson, if the members of the party submits a complaint disapproving their actions.”

After today’s meeting, Ghafoor claimed that he had received appeals for a change in leadership from all over the country, as well as from within the national council.

The party’s constitution now stipulates that new elections will now be held, Ghafoor said.


MDP to take no confidence votes against Party President and Vice President as internal rift grows

The national council of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) will take no confidence votes against the party’s President Dr Ibrahim Didi and Vice President MP Alhan Fahmy, at the council’s 104th meeting scheduled for today.

The no-confidence motion is the second to be forwarded against the party’s leadership this month.

According to a statement from the party, the motion was put forward by the newly-elected Secretary General of the Party’s Parliamentary Group and International Spokesperson, Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, and was seconded by Mohamed ‘Ziyattey’ Ziyaadh, the former Executive Services Secretary of the President’s Office.

The MDP stated that the motion had been raised because both Didi and Fahmy had been making public statements contrary to a resolution passed on February 8, recognising that former President Mohamed Nasheed and his cabinet were ousted by illegitimate means through a coup d’état. The MDP  maintained that as the transfer of power was illegal, former President Nasheed and his cabinet should continue to sit in the National Council as senior members of government.

Facing pressure following its controversial ousting from power on February 7, the MDP’s founding leadership has come up against its ambitious new leadership, elected during the party’s internal elections in May 2011.

Ghafoor alleged that some senior figures were trying to bring about a coup within the party.

“I forwarded the resolution because [Alhan and Didi] have been making malicious statements intended to incite chaos and conflict among ordinary members of the party and the party activists. Making such statements at such a fragile time is damaging to the party,” Ghafoor told Minivan News.

A similar motion was forwarded earlier this month by the party’s Chair of Elections Committee and former head of National Social Protection Agency (NSPA), Ibrahim Waheed, calling for a “confidence assessment” of the party’s current senior leadership.

“I submitted the resolution in accordance with the MDP Constitution. The reason for the submission was that some of the party’s leaders have been issuing statements and interviews against the MDP’s Constitution, after the coup on February 7,” Waheed told Minivan News at the time.

However, the National Council at the last minute decided not to proceed with the vote.

Didi’s response

Speaking to Minivan News, MDP President Dr Ibrahim Didi stated that he did not believe such a motion could be taken. He questioned the authenticity of the scheduled National Council meeting, claiming that it was in conflict with previously set precedents.

“As a principle, the National Council is usually held in consultation with the party leadership. The reason for holding a council meeting and its agenda has to be discussed with the Party President or Vice President. Especially at such a fragile time, they did not do so,” he said.

Didi claimed said that the courts of the country had recognised him as the legitimate leader of the MDP and referred to a recent court case in which the MDP’s legal team sued the government for dismantling its protest camp at Raalhugandu in Male’.

Civil Court Judge Aisha Shujoon dismissed the case stating that it had been filed at the court by the Interim Chairperson of the party, MP Moosa Manik, who she contended did not have authority to sign on behalf of MDP according to the party’s constitution.

The case was subsequently resubmitted under Didi’s signature, and is proceeding.

“Even the courts have recognised the authority of the party leadership and I do not believe the National Council can vote me out because I am elected from a direct vote,” he said.

Didi also said that he would not participate in today’s scheduled meeting even though he was able to sit in the council as a member of former President Nasheed’s cabinet.

“I do not believe that the cabinet is legitimate because the party constitution states that the Party President has to form the party cabinet,” Didi added.

Ghafoor argued that he had proposed the motion in accordance to the party’s constitution, article 30 clause (f) which states that the National Council is able “to debate and assess the confidence of the President of the Party or the Vice President of the Party or the Chairperson or a Deputy Chairperson, if the members of the party submits a complaint disapproving their actions.”

Despite Didi’s claims, Minivan News observed that Didi was present and participated in the national council meeting held on February 8 in which the party passed a resolution recognising former President Nasheed and his cabinet.

Internal rifts

Following the controversial transfer of power on February 7, the pressures of sudden opposition have deepened existing internal rifts between senior figures of the party.

The MDP has already decided to take action against its MP, Shifaaq ‘Histo’ Mufeed, after he voted against party whip-line in the parliament session held to approve the new cabinet and vice-presidential nominee Waheed Deen.

The MDP had earlier decided to boycott the session arguing that the session was illegitimate, since the party did not recognise the legitimacy of the government of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan, and repeating the party’s allegations that Waheed came to power in a coup d’état. The party argued that the session could not be legal because it was held to approve a government that came to power by illegal means.

However, despite the party’s whip-line on its MPs to not to take part in the session, MP Mufeed participated in the session and voted in favor of approving both the cabinet of President Waheed and Vice Presidential appointee Waheed Deen.

President Waheed’s cabinet and the vice presidential appointee Waheed Deen were approved by the remainder of sitting MPs unanimously by 45 votes of the usually 77-strong chamber, including MP Mufeed’s vote.

MDP Parliamentary Group Leader, MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih told local media that the parliamentary group would take action against MPs who went against the party whip-line.

Speaking to Minivan News, Ghafoor said that action will be taken against Mufeed in accordance with rules set up to take action against those who break the party whip-line.

“I assure that the party’s parliamentary group (PG) will look into the matter and ensure that necessary action be taken against [Mufeed] in accordance with the party constitution, if he is found to have broken the party whip-line,” he said.

“Shifaaq [Mufeed] has been a subject of controversy, even before the February 7 coup. He has been repeatedly gone against the party line,” Ghafoor alleged.

“For instance, while we were in government, during the meetings of Social Services Committee of the Parliament where he and I both sit as MDP MPs, he had supported the centralising of Thalassaemia treatment while the party had earlier approved a bill decentralising it,” he added.

While Ghafoor did not reveal what kind of action the party would be taken against the MP representing mid-Fuvahmulah constituency, he stated that if Mufeed wanted to “switch parties” he should stop “acting like a child” and “be man enough to say that the party policies no longer appeal to him”.

However, Mufeed maintained that he did not intend to switch parties but he was trying to highlight the flaws within the party leadership, and was quoted in the local media as saying that the party’s leadership was “in a coma”.

Along with MP Mufeed, other senior party figures such as MP for Nolhivaram Constituency Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed along has become vocal in criticising the party leadership, stating that the party should let go of its “militant tactics”.

Spiritual leadership?

Along with Mufeed and others, party vice president Alhan Fahmy has implied that former President Nasheed was a “spiritual leader”, and that he would not support such a leader within the party.

However, Ghafoor told Minivan News that there was no way Nasheed could be labelled a “spiritual leader”, as the National Council of the party had agreed that he was brought down illegally and was technically still the elected president.

“I don’t believe that Nasheed is a spiritual leader. Structurally he still is the elected president, and the party has agreed that he was brought down by illegal means under a resolution passed on February 8. The party’s national council has agreed that he is still technically the elected president, through the people’s vote,” said Ghafoor.

Minivan News tried contacting MP Alhan Fahmy for his comments but he had not responded at the time of press.

The National Council was scheduled to meet today 4:00pm at Dharubaaruge. Minivan News understands the no confidence motion is to be opened for debate.