The Jumhooree Party (JP) has condemned allegations by former council member Fuad Gasim concerning JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim’s ties with the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).
State Minister for Health Fuad Gasim resigned from the JP council in protest on Friday after former President Mohamed Nasheed met Gasim Ibrahim and signalled the MDP’s support for the business tycoon’s bid to become the speaker of the newly-elected 18th People’s Majlis.
Fuad told Sun Online on Thursday (May 1) that the close ties between Gasim and Nasheed were unacceptable while the JP remained a part of the ruling coalition.
One of reasons he supported JP was its opposition to the MDP’s alleged “secular ideology,” Fuad said.
Fuad also criticised as “undemocratic” the JP’s selection of candidates for the March 22 parliamentary polls, claiming that the JP ticket was awarded to individuals who “pleased the leader.”
In a press release issued on Thursday in response to Fuad’s remarks in the media, the JP stated that Gasim followed an “open policy” of holding discussions with leaders of all political parties upon request.
“Meeting a particular person from a particular political party does not diminish or undermine the religious and nationalist ideology accepted by the Jumhooree Party and the party’s leadership,” the statement read.
The JP statement revealed that Fuad Gasim was barred from some party offices about a month ago following complaints from female staff regarding his behaviour.
Moreover, party members complained about Fuad while he was serving as the secretary general, it added.
The statement went on to accuse the former council member of campaigning against the JP’s candidate for the Nolhivaram constituency.
Fuad had met Gasim Ibrahim prior to the elections and demanded the JP ticket, the statement alleged.
Following Gasim’s refusal to award him the ticket, the JP claimed that Fuad had been slandering both the party and its leader.
The JP press release noted that Fuad Gasim remained in a government post designated for the party under the coalition agreement.
The post of Majlis speaker has meanwhile been a source of friction in the governing coalition. After Gasim expressed interest in the role, President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom declared that the speaker should be a member of the ruling party, which won the most number of seats in the March 22 polls.
The Progressive Coalition – made up of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) along with the JP and Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) – reached an agreement prior to the Majlis elections to divide the 85 constituencies among the coalition partners.
Following a joint campaign, the PPM won 33 seats along while the JP and MDA won 15 and five seats respectively.
The opposition MDP secured 26 seats while five independent candidates and one Adhaalath Party candidate were elected.
However, MDP MP-elect for the Thimarafushi constituency, Mohamed Musthafa, and three of the five independent candidates have since signed for the PPM.
The election of a new speaker through secret ballot is scheduled to take place at the first sitting of the 18th People’s Majlis on May 28.