PPM presidential candidate “root of all nation’s problems”, Umar Naseer tells JP rally

The “Jumhoree Gulhun” – a new coalition consisting of the Jumhoree Party (JP), Adhaalath Party (AP) and Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) – held a rally on Monday night to celebrate new arrivals, including Progressive Party of Maldives’ former interim Vice President Umar Naseer, former PPM Youth Wing Leader Ibrahim Nazim, PPM MP Shifaq Mufeed and Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) leader Hassan Zareer.

“None of these fresh people joining us laid any conditions, demands or excuses before joining our coalition. They have come to join us to protect our sovereignty, our religion and the way of our ancestors,” JP Leader and presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim said, addressing 200-300 supporters gathered in their Male’ campaign office.

“Their self interest is the self interest of the Maldivian citizens,” he continued. “I would like to tell all those who have newly joined us that we will not disappoint you. Our desks are extremely clean. There isn’t even a single piece of paper which might be stained.”

“It is my belief that together with the other parties’ members, our coalition will now have at least 50,000 members. Therefore, there is no doubt that our coalition will win the elections, be it in one round or even if we go to a second round,” Gasim predicted.

“Yameen is the root of all our country’s problems”: Umar Naseer

PPM’s former interim Vice President, who lost the party’s presidential primaries to PPM Leader Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom’s half-brother Abdulla Yameen spoke at the JP coalition’s rally tonight, criticising the presidential candidates of both PPM and MDP.

Stating that he and his supporters who had joined the JP coalition alongside him are “ultimately supporters of Gayoom”, Naseer said Gayoom’s half brother, Yameen “is a completely different story”.

“There is no way PPM can win the September 7 elections with Yameen as a candidate,” Naseer claimed.

“Yameen is the root of all the problems faced by our country today. The 40,000 illegal immigrants who have entered the country are people brought in under his nose. People say that there is a connection between Yameen and the illicit drugs that are sold on the streets of Maldives,” Naseer alleged.

“And so, any person who loves this country being in PPM and voting for a man like this is nothing but a betrayal to the nation. Even though you remain a member of PPM, you do not have an obligation to vote for a corrupt man like Yameen. The nation is far more important than that,” Naseer said.

Naseer stated that in the first round of elections, it will be Yameen who contests most closely with Gasim, adding that it is “of utmost importance to defeat him”.

“If Yameen comes to power, nothing but an empty pit will remain where the country’s safe deposit ought to be,” Naseer continued.

“I speak out of experience. And therefore, I pray we get Allah’s blessing in these efforts to save this nation, to prevent it from going into the hands of a corrupt group of people, to save it from the irreligious ideology of Mohamed Nasheed and to protect our nationalism.”

Naseer also stated that he had the utmost respect for current President Mohamed Waheed, but added that he could not support Waheed as he had appointed Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Leader Thasmeen Ali as a running mate.

Rationalising his refusal to support a Waheed-Thasmeen presidency, Umar alleged that Thasmeen had made “underhand deals with Nasheed to sell out the airport to GMR” and described him as “a traitor to the nation”.

He also predicted that the days leading to the September 7 election will prove to be “highly dangerous and risky”, stating that MDP’s apparent plans to file a case against Gasim gives weight to his concerns.

“It will also go to the point of physical fights on elections day. What I have to say to the people of this nation is that this is the time when history will be written. We must defeat Nasheed at any cost.”

“Be vigilant as [they] might attempt to stop you from voting”: Gasim

JP presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim advised his supporters to be “very vigilant and careful” on election day.

“We all know there is a certain group of people who will vote first thing in the morning on election day, and will then proceed to harass people who try to go to the voting booths after them. So be extra careful to cast your votes as early as possible,” Gasim said.

“Beware of losing your national identity cards before election day. And be wary of other people living in the same house as you, as they may be instructed to hide your ID cards so as to stop you from voting,” he cautioned.

“If such things happen, then these people might win in one round, as they keep saying repeatedly. So be vigilant. Be extremely careful,” Gasim said, referring to the Maldivian Democratic Party.

“Nasheed keeps saying he will come to power ‘at any cost’. Listen carefully, he says ‘at any cost’, meaning he is willing to do anything at all to rise to power. This means they intend to create enough chaos and trouble to cause the international community to not accept the elections,” he stated.

“Some of your sons and daughters living in your homes are, like that man [Nasheed] says, not always in a sound state of mind or sober. They might be paid some amount of money to hide your ID cards and stop you from voting, so be very careful of this. Be vigilant and careful in order to fulfill this legal, national and religious obligation,” Gasim stated.

From PPM to JP

Along with Umar Naseer, other council members and general members of PPM also joined the JP coalition.

Ibrahim Nazim, who resigned from his post as PPM’s Youth Wing Leader on Monday night and joined the JP rally the same evening, also echoed Naseer’s claims that Yameen “has no way of winning the presidential elections.”

Nazim stated that he had defected to the JP as the PPM failed to respect elected positions in the party, including himself.

“It is impossible to even contact the leadership, be it via phone or even text messages. I do not see how a person like this can contribute to empowering youth. I have decided to support Gasim as he is the only one of the four contesting candidates who seem to be working with the common people.”

Having initially supported Naseer, Nazim later called on PPM youth supporters to back Yameen after he defeated Naseer in the party’s presidential primaries.

Following June’s Civil Court ruling that the outcome of the PPM primaries cannot be made void, Nazim called on Naseer’s supporters to remain or come back to the PPM, adding that he believed Yameen would maintain the political ideology of Gayoom.

Despite this, Nazim then left his position at the PPM and joined the JP coalition with Naseer and his supporters that evening.

MP Shifaq Mufeed, who initially was in MDP and later defected to PPM in 2012, also joined the JP coalition.

Mufeed stated that he had come to the JP coalition not due to any monetary incentives, but because he believed in Gasim’s pledges and political ideology.

PPM’s ‘Maaz’ Ahmed Saleem, who supported Naseer in the party’s primaries also spoke at Monday’s rally.

Speaking in praise of JP’s presidential candidate, Saleem said, “Gasim already owns 30 percent of this country. What reason is there to not grant him the remaining 70 percent?”

“We gave power to Waheed on February 7, 2012 with a lot of hope. But today we are seeing Waheed filling his pockets with irreligious thoughts and imparting these anti-Islamic ideologies to the people,” he said.

“And as for Nasheed, if he wins the election, it is a fact without doubt that we will see the construction of temples in our Islamic nation.”

“Umar Naseer and I, we worked very hard to get the PPM to hold primaries. We did succeed in doing so. But then, the half-brother poked his hands in and meddled with the primaries, making it corrupt too,” Saleem alleged.

Other speakers at the rally included Abdulla Mohamed, who led the Civil Coalition of NGOs, the main organiser of the December 23 coalition which held the 2011 rally under the banner of “defending Islam” from the MDP.

Abdulla Mohamed said the JP stands an “irrefutable likelihood of winning the election if every member guarantees an additional 10 votes for Gasim.”

“Although initially Gasim was going to contest in the elections with only a handful of people backing him, as in just his Jumhoree Party, he now has the support of a large coalition, which guarantees he will win,” Abdulla claimed.

“On February 7 we rid the nation of a creature far more fearful than the historical sea demon known by the name of Rannamaari. We rid the nation of Nasheed and his sidekick, Mariya Ahmed Didi (MP and former MDP Chairperson), whom we can call ‘AnniMaari’. We must do so again in September,” he said.

“If we can do that, and if every member obtains 10 more votes, winning this election will be as easy as peeling an onion.”


MDP now the largest political party, says Elections Commission

The Elections Commission has announced that the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has overtaken the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) to become the largest political party in the country.

President of the Elections Commission Fuad Thaufeeq said the MDP is now the largest political party with 31,171 members, narrowly overtaking the DRP’s 30,775 members.

Fuad noted that there was a possibility the DRP would regain its position once another 2000 membership forms were processed.

DRP Secretary General and MP Abdulla Mausoom claimed the EC had not included the forms of 2400 DRP members in the list it had released.

”We want to believe that EC is an independent commission,” Mausoom said, ”but sometimes questions arise about them.”

DRP MP Ali Waheed accused the the commission of failing to include DRP members, claiming it was influenced by the ruling party.

”We are visiting the atolls this weekend,” he said, ”and during that  visit we will reveal what action we plan to take.”

Fuad rejected the allegations as false information.

”We cannot be influenced by any party,” he said, noting that the commission did not support or depend on any political party. In a previous interview with Minivan News, Fuad has noted that sometimes existing members seeking to join other political parties failed to realise they had to leave their current party before applying.

MDP MP Alhan Fahmy said the DRP’s claims the EC was being influenced were “regrettable”.

”Everyone must respect the independent commission,” he said, ”and when things do not go the way [DRP] planned it is unfair to say the commission was influenced.”

Alhan said when he joined MDP, “many DRP members followed.”

Umar Naseer said he respected the EC and did not believe it was being influenced, but suggested DRP’s membership would top MDP when the new membership statistics settled this week.

By the numbers

After the two major parties, the third largest party in the Maldives is the  Jumhooree party with 7565 members, followed by the Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) with 5359 members and the  Adhaalath party with 5163. Former President of the IDP Umar Naseer is currently attempting to dissolve the IDP, however the EC has ruled against this decision.

The People’s Alliance (PA) has the least number of members at 3107, below the Dhivehi Qaumy Party (DQP)’s 3480 members.


DRP’s leader will be party’s presidential candidate

The Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has decided that their candidate for presidential election will be the party’s leader, a decision made during the first day of the party’s third annual congress.

DRP spokesman Ali Solih said the party decided during today’s meeting that it would not hold primaries to elect the party’s presidential candidate, with “only a few of our supporters calling for primaries.”

DRP’s national congress meeting started at 3pm in Dharubaaruge, with former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom speaking at the opening ceremony.

DRP MP Ahmed Ilham said more than 900 DRP supporters attended the national congress.

He also said that former president Gayoom was given the special title of DRP’s ”Zaeem” (leader).

Former president of Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) and candidate for the DRP’s vice presidency Umar Naseer, who had called for primaries, said he respected the decision of the party.

”An amendment was approved concerning the party’s leadership, including a provision for the party’s leader to become the presidential candidate, which meant the amendment I presented was cancelled,” Umar said.

Spokesman for the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Ahmed Haleem said that DRP’s decision not to hold primaries showed that the party’s members had confidence in current leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali.

Haleem said he did not want to comment on whether he considered the decision to be democratic.


Umar Naseer to take EC to court over decision to retain IDP

Former president of the Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) Umar Naseer, who recently joined the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), has announced he intends take the Elections Commission (EC) to court over its decision not to allow the disbanding of the IDP.

Umar left the IDP last month to further his political career, claiming there was “no future” in being president of such a small party. He claimed a “the majority” of the IDP wished to disband the party altogether.

However, Deputy President of the IDP, Mohamed Hassan Manik, said the majority of the members disagreed and believed that the IDP “can still be run as a viable and independent political party.”

Umar’s decision to abandon the party, he suggested, was made “because it will be easier for him to try and become president of the Maldives [in the DRP].”

Meanwhile, the EC ruled that Naseer’s decision to disband the IDP was not valid under the party’s own regulations and that it could continue to exist as a political entity, following an investigation of what the EC’s president Fuad Thaufeeq described as “a big mess.”

“We found that the number of persons in the executive committee required to be present at a meeting to change a rule was not satisfied,” he said. “This is according to their rules.”

According to Thaufeeq, the decision to dissolve the party was taken at a meeting where less than the required 50 per cent of the executive committee were present.

“We looked at the minutes and percentage attendances at the meetings and found this regulation was not strictly followed, and is why we do not conisder Umar Naseer’s decision to dissolve the party to be valid.”

Thaufeeq said it was Naseer’s right to take the matter to court, and acknowledged that while this would be very expensive for the independent commission, “we don’t have any option.”

“There are two groups within IDP. One is with Umar Naseer, the other is against him,” Thaufeeq said. “I have no clue how this will be resolved without going to court, because regardless of our decision either group will take us to court.”

Naseer had not responded to Minivan News’ request for comment at time of press.


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.