IDP ‘has no future’ says Umar, jumping to DRP

President of the Islamic Democractic Party (IDP) Umar Naseer today said there was “no future” in a political career as president of such a small party.

Umar also announced he was joining the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) to further his political career, and claimed “the majority” of the IDP  now wished to disband the party altogether.

Umar was welcomed to the DRP by former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, during a special ceremony held on Sunday. Gayoom described Umar as an “outstanding politician”, and said it was significant that the president of another political party had elected to join the DRP.

Umar did not reveal whether he planned to contest the leadership of DRP. Candidates are required to nominate themselves for the elections by the end of January.

IDP collapse

The impact of Umar’s departure on the IDP is unclear. While the departing president said he was disbanding it, “a minority in the party are resisting and working to keep the IDP running as a political party,” he said.

At the ceremony, Gayoom said it was a great achievement for DRP for getting an outstanding politician like Umar and it is more special when a person who used to be the president of a different party joins DRP.

During a ‘aadhaya hilaafu’ congress of IDP members, Umar said the party’s members had consented to dissolve the party.

However IDP’s Vice President Mohamed Hassan Manik said  Umar “had no right” to disband the party because the majority of the party “do not want to do it,” and that it was illegal for him to do so.

”Maybe the majority of Alarms Pvt Ltd and the Whale Submarine [companies owned by Umar] want to dissolve the party, but none of IDP members want to,” Hassan said.

He furthermore condemned Umar for being “hungry for power.”

“That’s what he wants. We are very disappointed that a person trying to run for the administration of a country hesitates to follow the law,” Hassan said.

Hassan said the DRP were welcome to Umar “because the party needs someone who is willing to go out to the streets and protest to defend the DRP.”

”Umar is perfect for that,” Hassan said.

President of Elections Commission Fuad Thaufeeq described the whole case as ”a big mess and very unclear”.

Fuad said that nothing that Hassan and Umar said had anything in common, and that the Elections Commission was now gathering all of the IDP’s documents to try and decide whether Umar was technically able to disband the party.

Conflict at the IDP

The IDP was founded in December 2005 by Umar Naseer, Mohamed Haneef, Ahmed Inaz, Mohamed Ibrahim Didi, Abdulla Waheed and Mahamed Hassan Manik.

During the 2008 presidential election Umar, as a presidential candidate, garnered 1.39 per cent of the country’s votes (2472). The party received 214 votes during the elections to the Maldivian Assembly on 9 May 2009.


MDP numbers boom while DRP declines: EC

A sustained recruitment campaign in the atolls has led to a surge in the number of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) members.

The party welcomed 5,000 members in the last few months, taking its total membership to 28,995 as of 10 December 2009. At such a pace the party will soon overtake the 30,215 tally of its rival, the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), which recorded a slight decline according to President of the Elections Commission Fuad Thaufeeq.

The grassroots MDP campaign involved establishing network coordinators for every atoll and enlisting existing members to recruit others, explained MDP registrar general Ahmed Shahid.

“We’re not going to stop until we’re on top,” Shahid said. “We have a further 600-800 applications currently processing, and there are many more coming in from the atolls. However the weather has been bad over the last few months and we’ve had some trouble collecting the applications.”

Despite the overall gain the party had also lost some members, he admitted.

Dr. Mohamed Mausoom, Secretary-General of DRP, questioned the recruitment tactics of the MDP.

“They have appointed island councillors to recruit members, paid for by the state. But despite this they’ve only gained 5000 members,” he said.

Mausoom suggested that the number of new “sincere” MDP recruits was no more “than about 2,000.”

“The rest of them – although they are yellow on the outside, their heart is blue,” he speculated, suggesting that in some cases people were being pressured to join the party in order to keep their jobs.

“There’s no direct instruction, but [in the case of some government workers] it can be ‘sign up [to the MDP], or quit,'” he alleged. “This is the type of environment people are working in. I really can’t say what the MDP is up to anymore, but we have noticed many of their members signing up with us.”

The MDP’s gain was irrelevant, Mausoom said, because “as a proportion of the voting population, political membership numbers are not significant in the country.”

If the MDP overtakes the DRP, “it will be a joke”, he added. “The Maldivian population are among the most politically educated in the world; if you walk around Male and you’ll find hardly anyone who voted for MDP.”

In the May parliamentary elections, MDP won a total of 48,000 votes or 31 per cent of the vote, while the DRP and its coalition partner People’s Alliance won a combined total of 47,400 votes.

DRP won a total of 39,000 votes or 25 per cent.