Dr Jameel unveiled as PPM running mate: “I remain ever committed to serve this nation”

Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed was last night unveiled as the running mate of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) presidential candidate MP Abdullah Yameen, ahead of elections scheduled for September this year.

Dr Jameel’s appointment was announced during a ceremony held yesterday evening at Dharubaaruge conference centre in Male’, with local media soon reporting that the President’s Office had called for the minister’s resignation to prevent any apparent “conflict of interest”.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) meanwhile claimed that Dr Jameel’s selection would have no impact on its own campaigning ahead of September’s vote, accusing the current home minister of political opportunism in the hopes of prolonging his time in government.


Following the PPM ceremony yesterday, Home Minister Jameel used his Twitter account to comment on the appointment.

Earlier the same day, PPM MP Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News that the party had selected the “perfect running mate” to contest the upcoming presidential elections alongside MP Yameen.

“We have selected a political candidate who has the best interests of the country,” Nihan told Minivan News ahead of the ceremony, adding that the PPM was one of the few parties in the country currently in a position to be able to announce a presidential running mate.

Nihan said that despite ongoing legal wrangling over the validity of the party’s recent primary vote, the party would continue to move forward with its elections plans with its election manifesto expected to be printed soon.

Shortly before the PPM officially confirmed Dr Jameel as MP Yameen’s running mate, President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad was quoted in local media as calling for the home minister to resign from his position.

Masood told Sun Online yesterday that Dr Jameel’s decision to stand with the PPM during elections would create a conflict of interest regarding President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s own re-election plans.

Foregone conclusion

MDP Spokesperson and MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said the PPM’s decision to pick Dr Jameel’s to stand alongside MP Yameen in the upcoming elections was a “foregone conclusion” as far as the party was concerned, adding it would not have a drastic impact on its own campaigning.

“It is not a surprise to us. The appointment will be of no consequence to our election campaign,” he said.

Ghafoor claimed that the decision to appoint a senior member of President Waheed’s government to the PPM ensured that the party would be linked by voters to the controversial transfer of power on February 7, 2012.

The power transfer, which saw former President Mohamed Nasheed resign from office after a mutiny by sections of the police and military has been labelled a “coup d’etat” by the MDP.  The party’s allegations were nonetheless dismissed by a Commonwealth-backed Commission of national Inquiry (CNI).

Ghafoor accused Dr Jameel of being one of the main “fragments behind the coup”, accusing him of siding with the PPM to try and prolong his time in government.

Dr Jameel, along with Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim, were last month set to face no-confidence motions in parliament that were later withdrawn by the party, after the Supreme Court blocked the holding of the vote as a secret ballot.

With the opposition party claiming previously it had still not ruled out re-submitting the no confidence motions, Ghafoor said Jameel’s move was a deliberate attempt to “escape impeachment”.

“This is definitely political opportunism. I believe he has leapt out of the frying pan and into the fire with this move,” he said.

Speaking personally on the appointment, Ghafoor questioned the support and respect in the country for Dr Jameel, accusing him of being a “discredited man” and praticing “hate speech”.

Dr Jameel has held the position as Deputy Leader of the government-aligned Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP). During the DQP’s time in opposition under the previous administration, the party published a pamphlet entitled ‘President Nasheed’s devious plot to destroy the Islamic faith of Maldivians’.

The publication, described by the then MDP government as a “pamphlet of hate”, accused Nasheed of “working ceaselessly to weaken the Islamic faith of Maldivians, allow space for other religions, and make irreligious and sinful behaviour common.”

The repeated arrest of Jameel by police over his alleged hate speech, and his subsequent releases by Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed, led to Nasheed’s decision to detain the judge on charges of corruption and political collusion in early 2012. Protests by the then-opposition in the wake of the judge’s detention were shortly followed by a police mutiny and Nasheed’s resignation on February 7, which he maintains was made under duress.


Civil Court dismisses case to invalidate outcome of PPM primary

The Civil Court has dismissed a case seeking to invalidate the outcome of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) primary vote in March, that saw MP Abdulla Yameen selected as its presidential candidate for September’s elections.

A Civil Court spokesperson confirmed to Minivan News that during Thursday’s hearing the presiding judge rejected the case, which was filed last month by a PPM member.

The member who filed the case alleged that thousands of voters were not officially registered with the PPM at the time they cast votes on their preferred party candidate. Further details on the case were not available to the court official at time of press.

Sun Online reported that the case was rejected on the grounds that the PPM member, Rahma Moosa, was not one of the candidates and therefore could not claim infringement of her rights.

Umar Naseer told the online publication that he would file the case in his own name on Sunday (May 5).

Confirmation of the trial’s rejection was announced as local media reported that a rally scheduled to be held Friday (May 3) to announce MP Yameen’s running mate for the presidential elections had been postponed as a result of adverse weather.

MP Yameen, half brother of PPM founder and former Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was not responding to calls at time of press. PPM MP Ahmed Nihan meanwhile had his phone switched off when contacted this afternoon.


Divisions between PPM supporters appeared following March’s primary, when Umar Naseer – the only candidate to stand against Yameen during the contest – accused his opponent had controlled all of the party’s organs, including the council and election committee, and had “rigged” the vote in his favour by ballot stuffing, falsifying the count.

The allegations have been rejected by Yameen and the wider PPM, while Naseer found himself dismissed from the party late last month after he refused to respond – either verbally or in writing – during a seven day period provided by the PPM’s disciplinary hearing to retract the allegations.

Amidst the formation of divisions in the party at the time, PPM member Rahma Moosa lodged a case on April 18 at the Civil Court challenging the results of the party’s presidential primary.

Moosa reportedly filed the case claiming that 8,915 people who were not officially registered as members of PPM had been allowed to vote in the primary.

She contended that the move contravened the Political Party Act and compromised the rights of all general members of the party.

Coalition talks

The PPM, as the country’s second largest party in terms of parliamentary representation, last month said it would not rule out forming a coalition with President Dr Mohamed Waheed or any other fellow government-aligned parties ahead of the presidential elections.

PPM MP Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News at the time that the party had already engaged in talks over the possibility of forming a power sharing agreement with other parties in the government of President Waheed, although no final decision had yet been taken.

Nihan said that rival political parties needed to reassess their views on power sharing after thousands of people attended a gathering held by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on April 19 to announce the signing of Parliamentary Speaker Abdulla Shahid.

Nihan’s comments were echoed at the same time by current Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed – who is speculated in local media to be among the leading candidates to stand as the PPM presidential candidate’s running mate during the elections.

Dr Jameel told Minivan News last month that a changed political landscape since the country’s first multi-party elections in 2008, necessitated a willingness to share power more than ever.

“We have to recognise that the PPM and the [opposition] Maldivian Demoratic Party (MDP) are the two major political forces in the country capable of winning elections. Hence, if the governing coalition desires to forge an alliance, it cannot realistically exclude the PPM from any such move. Whether a coalition, inclusive of the PPM can be realised prior to the elections is possible or not, we cannot alienate major political parties in an election,” he said at the time.

“Therefore, the role of smaller parties attempting to win an election of this scale without the inclusion of major political parties is in my opinion, a risky business,” Dr Jameel added.


Govt parties need to reassess power sharing, after thousands attend MDP rally: MP Nihan

The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) said today it would not rule out forming a coalition with President Dr Mohamed Waheed or any other fellow government-aligned parties ahead of  elections scheduled for September.

PPM MP Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News the party was already engaged in talks over the possibility of forming a power sharing agreement with other parties in the government of President Waheed.

Nihan said that after thousands of people attended a gathering held by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) last Friday (April 19) to announce the signing of Parliamentary Speaker Abdulla Shahid, all political parties needed to reassess their views on power sharing.

“Risky business”

Nihan’s comments were echoed this week by Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, who claimed that a changed political landscape since the country’s first multi-party elections in 2008, necessitated a willingness to share power more than ever.

“We have to recognise that the PPM and the MDP are the two major political forces in the country capable of winning elections. Hence, if the governing coalition desires to forge an alliance, it cannot realistically exclude the PPM from any such move. Whether a coalition, inclusive of the PPM can be realised prior to the elections is possible or not, we cannot alienate major political parties in an election,” he told Minivan News this week.

“Therefore, the role of smaller parties attempting to win an election of this scale without the inclusion of major political parties is in my opinion, a risky business,” Dr Jameel added.

While declining to give exact details on the nature of power sharing discussions currently held by the PPM, MP Nihan claimed the party’s supporters were divided on the need to form a coalition after considering the size of the crowd that attended Speaker Shahid’s inaugural address as an MDP member last week.

“We are not in a position to give the media more details on coalition talks as of today. However, the PPM has engaged in talks with various parties,” he claimed.

“Many of our supporters are divided over whether we need a coalition with the Jumhoree Party (JP) and other government parties. After the MDP rally [on Friday] there has been lots of speculation [about coalition forming]. Let’s not rule anything out.”

Nihan stressed that the PPM’s preferred option would be to stand individually in the first round of elections to try and secure an outright elections victory.

However, he claimed that the PPM’s founder, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, had already explained within local media that the party remained open to the idea of forming coalitions with any party except the MDP.

DRP approached

Addressing speculation over the formation of a “broad coalition”, the government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) today said it had also been approached by representatives from President Waheed’s party over potentially standing in the election through a pwoer sharing agreement.

DRP Deputy Leader Mohamed Shareef said he did not wish to provide further details on discussions at present or confirm if any decision had been taken on entering a power sharing agreement.

However, discussing the DRP’s experiences as being part of the unity government of President Waheed, Shareef added that power sharing in the country was not without challenges.

“There are some who believe that the elections will be easier in a coalition. While they may be right, there have always been lots of differences of opinion in the current unity government,” he said.

Shareef added that in forming the current government – sworn in after former President Mohamed Nasheed resigned from office following a mutiny by sections of the police and military – there had not been any “formal discussions” on individual roles that would be taken by coalition members.

Shareef claimed that securing any future agreement between different political parties and their respective presidential candidates on who should lead any coalition would prove more difficult.

Shareef therefore said he believed that the PPM was one party that would only be interested in a coalition that stood behind its own presidential candidate, MP Abdulla Yameen.

“The PPM will not be interested unless people would back their candidate. They are presently the largest party [in the current government] and will believe everyone must follow them,” he said. “However, in a coalition everyone must be equal.”

Shareef claimed that a failure to listen to the opinions of coalition partners had led to the previous government, formed behind Mohamed Nasheed’s MDP, eventually alienating all other parties, before the administration was toppled last February.

Just last month, the DRP said it would reject any possibility of forming a coalition with the PPM  beyond the present government, calling any discussion on the matter a “waste of time” considering previous disagreements between the two parties.

The PPM was formed by DRP founder, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in 2011 following an acrimonious war of words with the party’s current leader, Ahmed Thasmeen Ali. Thasmeen was directly appointed by Gayoom to be his successor as head of the DRP.

However, Shareef today refused to comment on speculation over any possible coalition agreement with the party.

Agreed coalition

At present, President Waheed’s GIP has formally agreed to stand in a coalition during the elections with the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP).

Both parties, which have no elected representatives in parliament , currently face potential dissolution for lacking the minimum requirement of 10,000 members as stipulated in the recently passed Political Parties Act.

The religious conservative Adhaalath Party has also publicly pledged its support to President Waheed, last month announcing plans to form a coalition with the GIP.

Meanwhile, after the JP rejected speculation it would form a coalition with President Waheed last week, Party Leader and presidential candidate MP Gasim Ibrahim was later quoted in local media on Thursday (April 18) as saying he would consider power sharing. However, Gasim stated at the time that that he would not stand as a running mate in such a coalition.

“Bitter lessons”

Senior figures of the opposition MDP including former President Mohamed Nasheed claimed earlier this month that sharing cabinet positions among different political parties would not result in an efficient government in the Maldives.

Former President Nasheed stated at the time that leaders of different political parties had learned “bitter lessons” surrounding their inability to run a government by sharing cabinet positions among different political parties over the last four years.

“A cabinet in which one minister belongs to this party and another belongs to that party, cannot run a government,” he said.

Aerial view of an MDP rally held on Friday April 20 to welcome the signing of Speaker Abdulla Shahid:



MDP withdraws no-confidence motions against ministers

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has withdrawn no-confidence motions in parliament against Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and Defence Minister Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim as well as a motion to remove MP Gasim Ibrahim from the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

The parliament secretariat released a statement yesterday (April 14) confirming the move, explaining that MPs had the discretion under parliamentary rules to remove no-confidence motions before they are put to a vote.

Speaking to press before departing for Denmark last night, former President Mohamed Nasheed said the MDP parliamentary group made the decision in the interest of averting political turmoil and ensuring calm and order in parliament ahead of the presidential election on September 7.

The MDP presidential candidate added that the party would “always consider public interest”.

MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, parliamentary group leader of MDP, told local media that the decision was made to avoid strife caused by the dispute among MPs over secret voting.

Voting on the no-confidence motions tabled for the parliament sitting on April 8 was postponed after MDP MPs insisted on conducting voting through secret ballot.

With 29 MPs out of the 77 in parliament, the formerly ruling MDP needed the support of at least 10 MPs to pass the no-confidence motions.

At last week’s sitting, MDP MPs claimed that the government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) agreed to vote in favour of the motions before reversing the decision at the eleventh hour.

MPs of the government-aligned Jumhooree Party (JP) and DRP had voted in favour of secret ballot for no-confidence votes in December 2012.

However, on March 16, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the amendment to parliamentary rules stipulating that no-confidence motions must be conducted through secret ballot.

In its judgment (Dhivehi) on the constitutionality of secret ballots for no-confidence votes, the Supreme Court majority opinion contended that the rule contravened article 85 of the constitution as well as parliamentary principles and norms of free and democratic societies.

The Supreme Court also ruled in March that parliament’s removal of Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chair Mohamed Fahmy Hassan was unconstitutional.

Both rulings were criticised at the time by opposition, government-aligned and independent MPs as an unconstitutional “challenge to the separation of powers.”

On March 19, parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee voted to seek a replacement for Fahmy at the CSC despite the Supreme Court judgment reversing his dismissal.

“The committee decided today that he [Fahmy] should go and we should continue looking for another person. Effectively we are ignoring the Supreme Court’s decision. The MDP will continue to raise this issue in parliament, it is a policy and it is legally non-negotiable. We cannot compromise on that,” MDP MP Hamid Abdul Gafoor told Minivan News at the time.

The committee’s decision has since been approved at the parliament floor, passing with 42 votes in favour during last Wednesday’s (April 10) sitting.


On the following day, the Supreme Court released a press statement declaring that judgments, orders and rulings of the apex court with their attendent legal ramifications must be accepted “without further debate or interpretation.”

The Supreme Court called on all persons and institutions subject to the Maldivian constitution to comply with and respect its decisions.

The statement referred to article 145(c) of the constitution, which states, “the Supreme Court shall be the final authority on the interpretation of the Constitution, the law, or any other matter dealt with by a court of law.”

The press release also noted that article 141(b) establishes the Supreme Court as “the highest authority for the administration of justice in the Maldives.”


High Court to rule in appeal on Hulhumale’ court legitimacy

The High Court is expected to rule Monday (February 4) on a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) appeal against the Supreme Court’s decision to back the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed, who is currently facing charges in the Hulhumale’ court over the detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed, today appealed against the legitimacy of the legal body alongside lawyers from the MDP.

Nasheed’s legal team have claimed that the Supreme Court ruling legitimising the Hulhumale’ court could be ignored by a lower legal body in the country, if oversights were made in the original verdict.

The High Court hearing follows attempts by the MDP to file a Civil Court case against serving Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed over allegations he had sought to influence the judiciary against the former president.

Dr Jameel was himself arrested under the Nasheed administration last year after the President’s Office requested an investigation into so-called “slanderous” allegations he made that the government was working under the influence of “Jews and Christian priests” to weaken Islam in the Maldives.

Minivan News was awaiting a response from Jameel at time of press.

“Per incuriam”

According to MDP spokesperson and MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, Nasheed’s legal team today invoked the principal of “per incuriam”, whereby an order from a superior court could be ignored in cases where “oversights” where found in the legal body’s ruling.

“In this regard, there are many precedents where the High Court has ruled against the Supreme Court,” he claimed, without specifying examples.

Hamid contended that rather than arguing the appeal hearing on just a legal technicality, the principal of “per incuriam” was relevant to what he claimed were the questionable grounds by which the Hulhumale’-based court was founded.

“The existence of Hulhumale’ magistrate Court is illegal. Our lawyers have submitted proof such as letters by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom showing this,” he claimed.

Nasheed came under international criticism last year after detaining Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed. The arrest followed his successful blocking of investigations into his alleged misconduct by the judicial watchdog and quashing of his own police summons.

The former government also accused the judge of political bias, obstructing police, stalling cases, having links with organised crime and “taking the entire criminal justice system in his fist” to protect key figures of the former dictatorship from human rights and corruption cases.

Nasheed’s government faced ongoing protests following the detention that led to his controversial resignation on February 7, 2012.

The MDP has maintained that the charges against Nasheed, which would potentially see him facing possible imprisonment or being banned from running for office in elections scheduled for later this year, were politically motivated.

Nasheed, who also spoke at the trial, observed that the chief presiding judge at the hearing had formerly served under Home Minister Dr Jameel during his tenure at the now defunct Ministry of Justice, during the autocratic rule of former President Gayoom. The MDP alleged that the judge, having previously reported to directly to Dr Jameel during his time as justice minister, had a conflict of interest.

Appeal aim

Hamid claimed that should the appeal be upheld by the High Court, the invalidation of the Hulhumale’ Magistrates Court would also call into question the nature of the charges against former President Nasheed.

He claimed additionally that the state was “on the back foot” in the case, with the Prosecutor General’s (PG’s) Office not contesting the issue today during the hearing.

Hamid added that Attorney General Azima Shukoor and a representative for the court watchdog, the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), had also declined to turn up for the hearing.

He was critical however of the chief judge providing the MDP just 20 minutes with which to present the opposition’s case against the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ court.

The three presiding judges are expected to deliver a verdict on the appeal by tomorrow.

Action against home minister

Meanwhile, President of MDP’s Male’ City Branch Mohamed Rasheed Hussain ‘Bigey’ filed a case at the Civil Court Thursday (January 31) concerning Home Minister Dr Jameel’s comments regarding the trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed.

The case, which has been accepted by the court, is currently in the process of registration.

“We are submitting this case to the Civil Court requesting that they order current Minister of Home Affairs Mohamed Jameel Ahmed to stop making remarks to local media that will stand in the way of judges presiding over cases fairly and in a manner free of influence,” Hussain said.

Aishath Leesha, the lawyer representing the MDP in the case, claimed that the home minister’s comments concerning an ongoing case were outlawed not only under the Judicature Act and Judges Act, but by previous Supreme Court rulings and the Maldives constitution.

“Hence, we are asking the court to declare that neither Jameel nor anyone else can make comments of this nature,” Leesha said.

Dr Jameel was reported in local media as stating that it was “crucial to conclude the case against Nasheed before the approaching presidential elections, in the interests of the nation and to maintain peace in it.”

He alleged that delays to the trial were due to “various reasons”, and would very likely have “adverse effects on the political and social fabric of the nation”.

“If things happen this way, people will start believing that it was due to the failure to address some issues in the Maldives’ judicial system, which need to be looked into. And in my opinion, the courts will have to take responsibility for this,” Jameel said in his interview with news website Haveeru.

Expressing concern that it would be an “extremely worrisome matter” if people started speculating that the reason for the delay in prosecuting Nasheed was that the country’s judiciary was not performing to par, Jameel said, “Every single day that goes by without the case being concluded contributes to creating doubt in the Maldivian people’s minds about the judiciary.”


Nasheed administration was “toppled,” tweets Home Minister Dr Jameel

Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed tweeted today that the previous administration of President Mohamed Nasheed was “toppled” on February 7, 2012.

“2012 was historic year for the Maldives. Democracy was tested repeatedly, arrogant, impulsive & authoritarian regime of Nasheed was toppled,” he wrote.

The government of former Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed has insisted that Nasheed resigned voluntarily and that the transfer of power was constitutional – a stance backed by the Commonwealth-backed Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) earlier this year.

Jameel however tweeted that the events of February 7 was a “landmark moment where people power prevailed over a mad govt that failed to hear the voice of the people.”

President Nasheed resigned on February 7 after police officers joined opposition protesters in mutiny at the Republic Square in the wake of violent clashes at the artificial beach between rival protesters and an assault on members of the formerly ruling Maldivian Democratic Party by riot police.


Home minister confident ahead of parliamentary no-confidence vote

Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has said he expects to successfully defend himself within the People’s Majlis against a no-confidence motion submitted this month by the opposition Maldivan Democratic Party (MDP).

Local media reported Friday (December 21) that Parliamentary Speaker Abdulla Shahid has sent the required 14-day notice to Dr Jameel informing him of a second no-confidence motion submitted by the MDP against him.

The motion was forwarded by the opposition party over allegations the home minister had failed to control civil peace and order in the country. A previous motion submitted by the MDP against Dr Jameel was withdrawn by the party for unexplained reasons.

Earlier this month, parliament also tabled a no-confidence motion filed against Defence Minister Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim, despite a Supreme Court injunction ordering parliament to halt all pending no-confidence votes.

The People’s Majlis secretariat revealed at the time that Defence Minister Nazim has been given the required 14-day notice and his ministry also duly informed by Speaker Abdulla Shahid. A no-confidence motion against President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan is also in parliament awaiting scheduling.

Confirming that the 14 day notice ahead of the second no-confidence vote against him had now been received, Dr Jameel claimed he expected to successfully defend himself from the motion, as would other senior government representatives.

“[The no-confidence motion] is part of a democratic process that the government of the day must always be prepared to face. I feel it’s equally vital for those of us sitting in the government to inform the public and People’s Majlis of our performance and decisions.”

“I am sure once our side of the story is heard by the Majlis, the concerns and charges raised in the motion will become clearer and will be seen as baseless. It’s important in such a motion, in my opinion, to appear in the Majlis and fully cooperate with this democratic exercise,” he told Minivan News.

Dr Jameel added that the would not comment on whether he felt the MDP could garner enough support for the motion, referring the question to the opposition party.

MDP allegations

After last week submitting the bill, which was backed by 17 of MDP MPs, the opposition party accused the Home Minister of  failing to control law and order in the country and therefore holding ultimate responsibility for the loss of eight lives.

The MDP further referred to an incident in which a police officer struck a speeding motorcyclist with his baton.  The action caused the vehicle – alleged to have been driven by a suspected robber – to collide with another man’s motorcycle and killing him.

Police at the time did not reveal the involvement of the police officer in the death of the bystander. Video footage of the incident was subsequently leaked to the media.  The MDP alleged that Home Minister Jameel had tried to cover up police involvement in the death.

MDP MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor claimed there was sufficient support in the Majlis to back the three no-confidence motions the party submitted against Dr Jameel, President Waheed and Defense Minister Nazim.

“We believe it is possible and necessary to [pursue the no confidence motions]. If you look at all cases, it is quite clear that all have acted unconstitutionally. This applies to all three cases,” he said.

In light of the government’s recent decision to terminate a sovereign agreement with India-based infrastructure group GMR over developing Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA), Ghafoor contended that sufficient support remained in parliament to vote against the government in all three cases.

“We believe there are enough sensible MPs who understand the need for a legal ouster of an unelected executive,” he claimed.

Ghafoor added that the party was confident that a majority of MPs would not continue to allow what he alleged was the growing role of radicalism within the executive’s decision.  He contended this influence had been seen in the government’s attitude against not only parliament, but foreign investment in the form of GMR.

“You have a government without any democratic mandate taking major decisions against parliament and foreign investors,” he added.

Earlier this week, government-aligned Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Parliamentary Group Leader and MP Abdulla Yameen alleged in local media that any damage to relations between India and the Maldives following the GMR contract termination had been the result of the actions of the National Movement.

The National Movement is made up of several representatives in the coalition government of President Waheed, notably including the religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP).

During an interview with private broadcaster DhiTV on Tuesday (December 18), Yameen claimed that the airport was not withdrawn from GMR due to the pressure of National Movement, which had strongly opposed the deal, but rather a unanimous decision by the coalition government.

However, Yamin alleged that during rallies held by the National Movement, some participants spoke in a tone about GMR and the airport development that might have caused diplomatic issues with India.

According to Sun Online, Yameen was also quoted as claiming that the ongoing protests and rallies being held by the National Movement were unnecessary.  He added that the Maldives might have to face difficulties due to the recent activities of the National Movement.

Days earlier, National Movement steering committee member and Minister of State for Finance Abbas Adil Riza said efforts would be taken to “break up” parliament should its dispute with the Supreme Court over holding temporary secret ballots for upcoming no-confidence votes continue.

However, speaking on December 9, government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Abdulla Mausoom stated there was no ‘spirit’ within his party to support the no-confidence motion against Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim.

Mausoom said although the DRP would support no-confidence motions against cabinet ministers where it thought such actions were justified, he believed the party would not back the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in trying to remove Nazim as defence chief as part of what he believed was a “personal vendetta”.

Mausoom contended that, for the vote against Defence Minister Nazim at least, the MDP would not be able to pass such “personal vendetta-based motions” and repeated his claim that the motion lacked sufficient grounds to be supported.


Afrasheem’s murder “carefully planned”: Home Minister

The probe into the murder of MP Dr Afrasheem Ali on October 1 has revealed that youth are being increasingly used in crimes, Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has said.

Speaking at a ceremony held on Thulusdhoo in at Kaafu Atoll, Dr Jameel said that individuals who offer alcohol, drugs and money to young people to kill cannot remain hidden.

“It is difficult for us to believe and for our minds to think about it. The investigation has revealed that the murder had been carefully planned. This is a matter of concern,” Jameel said.

Jameel claimed that Afrasheem’s murderer has been found and that culprits behind the crime will be revealed soon.

Speaking about issues in the Maldives, Jameel claimed that 90 percent of crimes are related to drugs, and that not enough attention has been given to substance abuse in the last three years.

According to Jameel, all illegal acts are related to alcohol and that those who dare mention it are being criticised. He further stated that there have been no prosecutions made in alcohol related cases in the last three years.


MDP’s Ali Waheed “confident” Majlis will remove President and Home Minister

Deputy Leader of Maldivian Democratic Party’s Parliamentary Group Ali Waheed has expressed his confidence that his party will get the votes it needs to secure no-confidence motions against the President and the Home Minister.

“We have full confidence in this. That is why we proposed it in the first place,” he said. “We want things to go in a democratic way and we accept the decision of the Maldivian people.”

The opposition MDP announced its intentions to submit the motions earlier this month.

Regarding President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan, the MDP alleged that he had destroyed the sensitive economy of the nation and that his handling of the economy had destroyed foreign investor confidence in the Maldives.

Justifying the move against Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, MDP members have criticised what they see as Jameel’s failure to probe human rights abuses surrounding the February 7 transfer of presidential power.

The party also cited this year’s increase in murders and assault as the reason behind the move.

Majlis regulations state that 26 votes are needed to get a no-confidence motion onto the floor of the house, with a two-thirds majority of the full assembly (52 of 77) required to impeach the president.

Ali Waheed said that he was unable to reveal the stage at which negotiations with other parties had reached, saying instead.

“I’m not in a state to disclose that. However, we believe that the truth will be revealed in time. Let’s work with the positive things and success will follow.”

An official from the Majlis confirmed today that the necessary votes had been received and that the Counsel General had advised the Speaker of the Majlis that the motion can be tabled.

Figures received from the Majlis show that the MDP currently holds 30 seats in the Majlis, with government-aligned parties holding 39 seats and 7 independents remaining.

One seat in the Majlis is currently empty after the murder of Dr Afrasheem Ali earlier this month. A by-election for his Ungoofaru constituency has been scheduled for December.

Speaking at a press conference outside the Majlis yesterday, Ali Waheed said that discussions within the Majlis had indicated potential divisions within the governing coalition, reported local media.

Nasheed’s Allowances

At the same press conference Ali Waheed expressed his concern over the withholding of office allowances to President Nasheed, suggesting that Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad may be summoned before the Majlis if these privileges continue to be withheld.

“This is just another obstacle put up in front of us and we will tackle it accordingly,” he told Minivan News today.

Local media this week gave conflicting statements regarding the reasons for the withholding of Nasheed’s office allowance.

Sun Online reported Jihad as saying that the issue was related to the unknown location of Nasheed’s office whereas Haveeru said that the suspension of privileges was related to a disagreement over whether former presidents were required to conduct charitable activities.

“In reality, the office should be involved in holding social activities. However, the concern of these members is that there is no social work to be seen by the (Nasheed’s) office,” Jihad was quoted by Haveeru.

“It has to be clarified. Hence the financial allowances have been halted for the time being. We still haven’t been provided with the information we sought in relation to the office,” Jihad told the paper.

Jihad was not responding to calls at the time of press when contacted for clarification.

Article 8 of the Protection and Privileges for Former Presidents Act (Dhivehi) states, “In the event that a former president wishes to conduct social work beneficial to the community, the state shall provide up to MVR175,000 a month to arrange for an office, employees and other matters.”

Article 128 of the constitution states that a former president “serving his term of office lawfully without committing any offence, shall be entitled to the highest honour dignity, protection, financial privileges and other privileges entitled to a person who has served in the highest office of the land.”

Nasheed is currently on trial for the alleged illegal detention of Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed shortly before his controversial resignation in February this year.

However, Jihad was reported as saying earlier this week that  Nasheed would be provided any allowances forthcoming from the 2009 Former Presidents’ Privileges and Protection Act .