JP defection is no loss to government, says Gayoom

The Jumhooree Party’s (JP) departure from the Progressive Coalition causes no loss to the government, says Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) leader and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Arriving in Malé after attending an environmental forum in New Delhi, Gayoom told media that the current government remains “strong and steadfast”.

“Initially, we had a coalition between three political parties, now there is one between two. The coalition with JP broke apart due to some disagreements that arose a while ago. However, the coalition with MDA [Maldives Development Alliance] remains very strong,” he said.

The JP has today responded by suggesting that the PPM leader was unwilling to see violations committed by the ruling coalition.

The party officially joined the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) last week, after having officially left the coalition, though relations with the PPM were effectively severed in May last year.

After describing the opposition’s claims to be defending the Constitution as laughable last week, Gayoom again criticised the agreement.

“If they claim to be protecting the Constitution, then they must also tell us exactly how the incumbent government has acted against the Constitution. They haven’t been able to do so. The truth is, they don’t really have much of essence to say about this,” he told media.

The former 30-year ruler asserted that the administration of his half-brother Abdulla Yameen respects the Constitution, rejecting claims that the replacement of the auditor general last October, and the dismissal of two Supreme Court judges in December, was unconstitutional.

He insisted that those actions cannot be described as undermining the Constitution, as they were taken “lawfully through the establishment of laws”.

“These laws are made in ways that the Constitution allow us to. We can’t make any laws that go against the Constitution, as the contradicting clauses will themselves become void. So these actions were conducted in accordance with what the Constitution stipulates,” he explained.

Doesn’t want to see: JP

JP Spokesperson Ahmed Sameer has subsequently dismissed Gayoom’s comments, stating that the current government’s unconstitutional actions are “apparent for all to see”, suggesting that Gayoom chooses not to acknowledge them.

“Gayoom sees them, knows about them, and is deliberately using the majority that the PPM currently has to undermine the rights of the people,” alleged Sameer.

“We citizens should be deeply concerned if a man who ruled for such a long time cannot even recognise violations of people’s rights while it is happening right in front of him”.

He went on to give various instances in which the party believes the government has acted unconstitutionally.

“One of the first statements by the President’s Spokesperson was a justification of why President Yameen did not mention the judiciary in his presidential address in the parliament. He then said that the judiciary is absolutely strong and without fault. Why then did he bring such a major change to such a solid institution later on?” asked Sameer.

The spokesman went on to say that, when deciding which two judges to remove from the Supreme Court bench, the government had dismissed two of the judges most trusted by the public, while allowing a “disgraced judge” to remain in position.

He also pointed to the proposed constitutional amendment submitted to parliament, seeking to restrict persons over 65 years of age from running for presidency.

“The constitution clearly states that any citizen can run for an elected position. How then can this amendment be in accordance with the law?” he asked.

“It is a deeply concerning matter that Gayoom is turning a blind eye to the atrocities against the Constitution being committed by the rule of his party,” Sameer concluded.

The Progressive Coalition currently controls 49 of the Majlis’ 85 seats, while the opposition alliance – which has pledged to work together both inside and outside the Majlis – has a combined 34 MPs.

Related to this story

Gasim defiant as opposition sign agreement to defend Constitution

Opposition alliance a “waste of time”, says Gayoom

Judiciary excluded from presidential address due to Yameen’s trust in the institution

Majlis removes Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz, Justice Muthasim Adnan from Supreme Court


JP reverses stance as parliament begins voting on SEZ bill

The Jumhooree Party (JP) has today changed its stance on the controversial special economic zones (SEZ) bill, opting to support the government in the Majlis.

In the last parliamentary session prior to the recess, parliament has begun voting on the bill with the JP issuing a three-line whip to its 12 MPs in support of the legislation.

The party’s leader Gasim Ibrahim, who has previously spoken publicly against the bill, has recently claimed to have been the victim of government attempts to impede his various business interests.

The Majlis voted to continue today’s session until all 200 of the proposed amendments have been voted on – most submitted by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

The MDP had proposed to return the bill to a committee for further review, although this proposition failed with 57 of 73 parliamentarians present voting against it.

While the MDP has submitted over 180 amendments, the JP has also submitted about ten amendments, with the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) submitting a similar number, local media reports.

The MDP has contended that an SEZ law would pave the way for money laundering and other criminal enterprises, undermine the decentralisation system, and authorise a board formed by the president to “openly sell off the country”without parliamentary oversight.

The government, however, maintains that SEZs with relaxed regulations and tax incentives were necessary both for foreign investors to choose the Maldives over other developing nations and to launch ‘mega projects,’ which President Abdulla Yameen has said would “transform” the economy through diversification and mitigate the reliance on the tourism industry.

PPM Parliamentary Group leader Ahmed Nihan is reported in local media as having criticised the MDP for submitting “a large number of bills with the intention of creating long delays”.

Three line whip

Despite Gasim’s previous public opposition to the bill, the JP today announced today that it would enforce a three-line whip in voting for the SEZ bill.

The decision was reached unanimously in a parliamentary group meeting, according to JP MP Abdulla Riyaz.

Previously, the party leader Gasim had boycotted the committee reviewing the legislation,warning that an SEZ law would facilitate massive corruption and threaten independence.

The change in the party’s stance closely follows the state’s cancellation of various business agreements made with the JP leader’s business Villa Enterprises.

On Monday (August 25), the Civil Aviation Authority downgraded Gasim’s Villa International Airport based on the MP’s constituency island of Maamigili to domestic status.

Similarly, on August 14 the government terminated an agreement with Villa Air to develop and manage the regional airport on Gaaf Dhaal Kaadehdhoo, while the fisheries ministry has also decided to reclaim Laamu Atoll Baresdhoo from Villa, stating that the company had not used it for the agreed purpose.

President Yameen has denied that politics has played any part in the recent reversals to Gasim’s business interests.

Maamigili MP Gasim has also been in receipt of death threats in recent weeks, with the party releasing a statement suggesting rival politicians were behind this intimidation.

“The death threats are being issued to Honourable Gasim Ibrahim by those displeased or threatened by his efforts in the People’s Majlis, the media, and various other arenas for the benefit and wellbeing of the Maldivian people, in a planned attempt to intimidate him and push him back politically with politicians behind these threats,” the JP contended in an August 17 press statement.

Following Gasim’s crucial decision to support Yameen’s 2013 presidential election bid, his party joined the PPM and Maldivian Development Alliance in contesting the March parliamentary polls as part of the Progressive Coalition,

The PPM severed its coalition agreement with the JP in May, however, after Gasim stood for post of Majlis speaker despite the PPM fielding its senior MP Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed. The JP has since sought reconciliation.

The remaining Progressive Coalition members control 48 seats in the 85-member People’s Majlis.


JP to sue three MPs for switching parties

The Jumhooree Party (JP) is to sue three parliamentarians who switched to the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives.

The unanimous decision was announced at a party meeting on Saturday night, but the former ruling coalition partner is yet to decide on how to pursue the case.

JP council members said MPs had sworn in the name of Allah to refrain from crossing the floor and the switch had caused damage to the party. The PPM bribed MPs, JP alleged.

“The PPM’s actions in offering unattainably high incentives to parliamentarians of our party, and providing them with financial and material incentives so as to have them switch to their party, are against the vows they made to the public in their ascension to power,” a JP statement read.

The JP’s backing was crucial in PPM’s presidential win in November. The two parties decided to field joint candidates under separate party banners for the 85 member house in March. The PPM won 33 of the 50 seats it contested, while the JP won 15 of the 28 seats it contested. Coalition partner Maldives Development Alliance won five seats.

The PPM severed its coalition agreement with the JP in May after the coalition partner’s leader, Gasim Ibrahim, ran for the post of Majlis speaker despite the PPM fielding its senior MP Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed as the ruling coalition’s candidate.

JP currently has 12 MPs after Ihavandhoo MP Mohamed ‘Muhamma’ Abdulla, Milandhoo MP Hassan Mufeed Abdul Gadhir and Nolhivaram MP Hassan Areef’s signed to the PPM.

The MPs said they were urged by their constituents to join the ruling party to speed up development of their constituencies.

Following the loss of two JP MPs last month, Gasim claimed at a press conference that the MPs had told him that the government had threatened to cease development of islands in their constituencies. Gasim said he had heard that the pair were offered MVR10 million (US$648,508) each for the transfer.

The JP leader heavily criticised the pair for allegedly reneging on an agreement signed under oath “before God Almighty” to remain in the JP until the end of their five-year terms.

In response, the PPM has denied offering any incentives for crossing the floor.

“Today’s reality is that because PPM is in government, many members are taking their own intiative in joining our party. This is done with the intention of providing development to the constituencies they represent,” PPM Deputy Leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla told local media.

Meanwhile, MP Muhamma told Minivan News he does not believe the JP has the grounds to take him to court.

“I don’t believe the JP can go to court on this matter. I don’t believe that any agreement made against the constitution can be valid,” he said.

He further claimed that it is “far more logical” for the JP to take PPM to court for breaking up the coalition than to sue individual parliamentarians.

The PPM now has a 43 member majority. In addition to the three JP MPs, four out of five independent MPs, and three opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs have switched to the ruling party.

Minivan News was unable to contact parliamentarians Hassan Mufeed Abdul Gadir and Hassan Areef for comments at the time of press.


Majlis elections: JP Gasim satisfied with results, but says vote-splitting cost greater gains

Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim has stated that, while he is satisfied with the results of the parliamentary elections, independent candidates affiliated with the governing Progressive Coalition cost the group seats.

Speaking at a press conference held on Sunday (March 23) at the party’s campaign headquarters, Gasim revealed that out of the 28 constituencies in which the JP had contested, leading figures of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) had independently contested in eight.

He stated that the provisional results being announced by various media outlets displayed the losses that this decision has caused the coalition due to vote-splitting between the coalition aligned candidates which led the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to win those seats.

Gasim admitted, however, that members of the JP had also contested in three constituencies in which the PPM was allocated, thereby causing the same loss.

He added that, although both parties had previously announced that they will penalise members who contested independently, neither has taken any such action as yet.

“We saw PPM challenge slots that the coalition had granted to us. And then right after that, Adhaalath Party – who used to work very closely with us – also went out and contested. They said that they will contest in the 28 constituencies that were given to us,” Gasim stated.

The JP leader went on to express hope that the independent candidates who have gotten elected to the parliament would work together with the coalition, stating that they are people “who have had ties with the JP and PPM from before their decision to contest”.

He added that with this alliance he is confident that the government coalition will get a three quarter majority in parliament.

He further said that the results of the parliamentary elections are “proof of the public’s acceptance of the current administration”, and of the rising sense of awareness among the public.

“We must make good use of the opportunity before us. If we try to abuse it, then whether we be government or someone else, no good will come of it,” he continued, stating that upon receiving majority in parliament, the focus should be on serving the citizens.

Gasim further stated that he is “not too keen” on acquiring the position of parliament speaker in the newly elected 18th Parliament.

“I will know for sure only when the time comes. I am not keen on it. I have been given that opportunity even previously,” Gasim stated on the matter.

Criticism against Adhaalath Party

At the press conference, Gasim levied heavy criticism against the religious conservative Adhaalath Party which had backed the JP in the early rounds of the 2013 presidential election.

The Adhaalath Party (AP) contested in 13 constituencies in the parliamentary elections, but managed to win only one seat.

Gasim stated that if the AP had accepted the four slots that the JP had offered them and run from within the coalition, they would have had a better chance at winning seats.

“It would have been better for the Adhaalath Party if they had accepted the four seats we offered them. But then, it’s only when a person dies that the living realise his true value. Some people are only able to appreciate how kind their parents were only after they pass away,” Gasim said.

He added that the decision of the AP’s leadership had caused them “irreparable damage” in this election.

“Imran came at me and demanded we give them 15 percent of seats, and said that if we don’t do so, they will contest in 50 constituencies. He said then we will see how that turns out, that we will see which party is able to win more seats.”

I found his words very unpleasant, it is not the kind of words that a person who maintains such Islamic principles would utter,” Gasim said.

“I responded immediately to his words. I said ‘so this is what it all comes down to. Now we are getting to see the truth. Out of impatience, you are struggling to come out of the womb in whichever way possible’,” he stated.

While the Elections Commission’s official provisional results are pending, local media reports that the JP has won 16 seats and the AP has won one seat out of the total of 85 seats in the 18th parliament.


Government coalition reveals Majlis election plan – Adhaalath excluded

The government’s coalition announced on Sunday that it had finished dividing seats for the upcoming parliamentary elections between the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), and the Jumhooree Party (JP).

According to the coalition, the PPM will be contesting in 49 areas, the JP in 28, and the MDA in 8.

PPM Deputy Leader Abdul Raheem stated that the division had gone according to the initial agreements made within the coalition during the presidential election.

He acknowledged that the parties had failed to get some of the seats that they requested, but affirmed that all seats had been allocated after much deliberation between party leaders.

He stated that special attention had been given to parties with incumbent parliamentarians in order that they could hold on to those constituencies.

“The areas have been decided upon as per the agreement of all three parties. To be honest, there wasn’t much debate. Everyone took care to make decisions in a manner that had least negative affect on the coalition, and would assist in getting us the most number of seats,” he is quoted as saying in local media.

Raheem had his phone switched off at the time of press.

Parties free to give seats to Adhaalath: PPM

The ruling party stated that, while religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) was excluded from the coalition’s Majlis plan, the parties are free to give the AP seats from those allocated to them.

Abdul Raheem informed local media that coalition parties will discuss the matter in the near future.

“In reality, Adhaalath is not an official part of this Progressive Coalition. So the parties’ idea is to give them what we can from the seats which have been allocated to us,” he stated.

He further stated that Adhaalath had made some requests of the coalition, adding that all of them cannot be fulfilled. He declined from providing details of the request.

“As far as I am aware, JP is considering giving some seats to the AP. The number of seats, or from where, has not been decided yet,” JP Secretary General Hassan Shah told Minivan News today.

JP acting secretary general Dr Mohamed Saud said that he was unable to talk at the time of press.

Adhaalath hopeful of inclusion

The Adhaalath Party, which has previously raised concerns of being excluded from the coalition’s plans, remained hopeful of inclusion – even if via separate parties in the coalition.

“We are still in the hope that the coalition will give us some seats. Now, it is true that we are not an official partner that joined the coalition under share agreements like the JP did. So it cannot be termed as contesting via a separate coalition party even if it is not the full coalition that is giving us seats,” AP Spokesperson Ali Zahir said.

“Of course, there is a limit to what we will accept. If it is way below expectations, then we will not accept it and will proceed to contest separately. I am hopeful that a reasonable solution can be found. We will only know this once the discussions are set into motion,” he explained.

The AP has previously announced that it has members possessing masters or doctorate level qualifications interested in running in 32 different constituencies.


Adhaalath fears exclusion from coalition’s Majlis election plan

The religious conservative Adhaalath Party has voiced concerns that, despite it’s assistance in the presidential elections of 2013, the government coalition is failing to include the party in its allocation of constituencies for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

A senior council member of Adhaalath Party (AP) – who wished to remain unnamed – told Minivan News that the party has been excluded from seat allocation discussions currently being held between the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and its coalition partners the Jumhooree Party (JP) and the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA).

A representative of the PPM has explained that discussions are first being held with those parties engaged in official agreements with President Yameen’s party before considering electoral arrangements with the religious party.

He alleged that the parties have been in discussions for the past two days while Adhaalath, despite having candidates interested in contesting for 32 constituencies, awaits a response from the group.

“Although there are candidates interested in running for 32 areas, we will understand if the coalition is able to give us somewhat fewer slots. While we are willing to come to an agreement with the coalition on the number of areas to run in, the coalition has so far not given us any opportunity to engage in such a discussion,” he stated.

According to the council member, should the coalition fail to leave sufficient time for campaigning before reaching a decision, the AP will contest separately in the polls.

He further opined that the AP “might be the single party that is bringing out the most number of extremely qualified candidates, with almost all of them having educational qualifications of Masters or Doctorate level”.

AP Spokesperson Ali Zahir confirmed to Minivan News that the party has so far not had any official communication from the coalition regarding the matter.

“We have not yet come to an absolute decision that the coalition is completely cutting us out. We are still awaiting a response from them, which I think will happen after they allocate seats to the parties with whom they already have written agreements. If, however, the coalition does not wish to cooperate with us, we will contest –  even if separately,” Zahir explained.

Will consider including AP: PPM

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Nihan stated that he had learned of the AP’s interest in running in the parliamentary elections approximately a week ago, and that he had conveyed the message to decision makers within the party.

“The thing is, the PPM has official coalition agreements with the JP and MDA. The AP did not join us on an agreement basis. So we can only consider options of sharing seats with AP after we manage to come to an agreement with JP and MDA,” Nihan said.

“The AP usually just communicates with the ruling party through Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, who acts as a middleman. This should not remain so, there must be official communication between the two parties. I will need to check if they have even submitted an official letter asking for coalition cooperation in the parliamentary elections,” he continued.

“After the November 10 elections, the AP came to meet with our then presidential candidate, incumbent President Abdulla Yameen. They said then that they wished to back Yameen and that they would do so without setting any conditions for the agreement. This is why they are excluded from the agreements on the upcoming election,” Nihan said.

“So the thing is, we will first agree upon which seats will be divided between PPM, JP and MDA. As you know, the coalition agreement with JP agrees to give them 33% of the constituencies,” Nihan continued.

“As for the MDA, we have a far too close relationship with them. To use a metaphor, they are a party that married us without dowry. Due to the close nature of the relationship between MDA leader Siyam and Yameen, there are no written agreements between us. But they will be allocated seats as the two parties have never had any friction,” Nihan said.

AP Spokesperson Zahir said that he had no comments to make on the MDA getting seats despite not having a written agreement like the AP, saying “in any case, AP will never be treated like the MDA is treated. We will reveal our thoughts on the matter when the time comes”.

Nihan stated that he hoped the coalition would meet with the AP and come to an agreement, so as not to disadvantage the coalition.

President Yameen has previously called on the AP to contest alongside the coalition, as running separately may lead to vote splitting – benefiting the political opposition.

Earlier in January, the PPM had claimed discussions had been initiated with the AP regarding parliamentary elections, though the AP claims that no official talks have been held to date.


Rifts in government coalition over proposed budget

Ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and coalition partner Jumhooree Party (JP) have exchanged harsh criticisms following disagreements over the proposed budget for 2014.

President Abdulla Yameen has said coalition partners must let the PPM decide on the allocation of funds for the state budget.

In response, Jumhooree Party leader (JP) – and third placed candidate in this year’s presidential elections – Gasim Ibrahim has criticized the PPM for its alleged failure to consult the JP in compiling the proposed budget. Gasim’s backing was crucial in Yameen’s presidential win.

He is also the chair of the parliament’s Budget Review committee.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday, Yameen called on coalition partners to approve the proposed budget, saying “It will be impossible for the government to work for a common goal if coalition partners are to decide upon what amount of funding needs to be included in the budget for separate projects.”

Only the government will know how to draft a budget in the “best interests of the people,” he said, adding that a coalition can only work if there is cooperation within it.

The PPM had promised the JP over 30 percent of cabinet positions, parliamentary seats, and local government seats in exchange for the party’s support in the second round of presidential polls.

Yameen said that coalition members must not view the alliance as an opportunity to guarantee themselves what they want from within the government, nor should it be seen as a chance to bring out whatever number of candidates they wish to compete in an election.

Instead, forming a coalition is in itself an agreement to abide by the decisions of the main party in the said alliance, he said.

It is unnecessary for citizens to know details about a coalition or the agreements about what is promised to each coalition partner, he added.

“To view it with a united mindset and approve the budget we have proposed is the first step that our coalition partners can take to serve the people. There must be unity, or at least sincerity, in our coalition partners. For MDP, or another opposing party, to have opposing views is perfectly acceptable. But if there are to be major differences in the viewpoints of our coalition members, that is not what we made a coalition for,” Yameen said, criticizing members of his coalition.

“If at the initial stages, coalition partners themselves are to stand up and criticize every issue that arises about our proposal, I really do not see how I will be able to fulfill the people’s needs,” Yameen said.

“When figures for expenses are simply written and the budget is passed as such, while knowing it is not possible to get the said funds, and then the government fails to raise the funds written in the budget for specific projects, it is the government who will be held to account by disgruntled citizens. It is not the parliament, nor our coalition members, who will then have to be answerable, but us,” he continued.

The president stated that he or his government would only bear responsibility for unfulfilled pledges and policies if the budget is approved by parliament as it is.

“If the budget is not passed as it is, and multiple changes are brought to it, then I will not take responsibility for not being able to deliver as planned,” he said.

Parliament has scheduled voting on the budget for tomorrow.

Government held no discussion with coalition about budget: Gasim

Budget Review Committee Chair Gasim Ibrahim – who himself proposed 14 amendments to the budget – responded to Yameen’s comments stating that the government has failed to hold any discussions about the budget with coalition partners.

“Despite being a part of the coalition, the government held no discussion whatsoever with us regarding this budget. Proof enough of this fact is the number of amendments I have submitted to the budget. Had they held initial discussions with us prior to submitting the budget, I would not have had to do this today,” he said, submitting his amendments to parliament on Thursday.

“I am both a coalition member and the Chair of the parliamentary committee tasked with budget review. And yet, we have had no suggestions or discussions from the government,” he continued.

Among the 14 amendments proposed by Gasim, he has included a suggestion to add MVR 6 million to the budget of the Local Government Authority, MVR10 million to the budget of the Maldives National University and MVR5 million to the budget of Prosecutor General’s Office, all in a way that does not increase the total amount of the annual state budget.

Earlier in November, Gasim spoke in a party rally about the government’s failure to provide the promised state positions to Jumhooree Party, while adding that it may be due to PPM being “hectically engaged in other government matters” and expressing confidence that Yameen and party leader and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom will not “deprive [his party] from benefits”.


Government must reward those who helped win presidency: Yameen

President Abdulla Yameen has refuted allegations that his administration was creating a high number of political posts, but said the government must provide incentives for those who helped him win the presidency.

“We are not creating useless political positions just to appoint persons to them,” Yameen told the press at a Wednesday event in which former President Dr Mohamed Waheed and senior members of his party joined his ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

Yameen said members of the ruling coalition were only raised to political positions after the resignation or dismissal of those who currently filled the posts.

“What I want to tell all politicians and citizens regarding this matter is that in reality, it is the work of a united group that made it possible for us to get this presidential term for ourselves. And so even citizens will accept that this government must provide incentives for those who took part in that work and put in responsible work. That cannot be called partiality towards them,” Yameen said.

He went on to say that political positions must be filled with individuals who share the ideology of the government, and who will work to reach the same goals, adding that this must be inclusive of government coalition members.

Yameen pointed out that the coalition would not be complaining about failure to receive jobs if his government was increasing the number of existing positions.

However, he pledged to assign all promised positions under the coalition agreement to all the involved political parties.

He called on those who are currently filling political positions who are not part of the government coalition to leave their jobs and “make space” for those within it.

The current administration has 112 known political positions within the government; 15 cabinet ministers, 3 other ministerial rank positions, 33 appointees at the level of state minister, 50 appointees at the level of deputy minister and 11 high commissioners and ambassadors, as per the President’s Office website.

These 112 positions do not account for presidential appointees to the boards of state enterprises and other institutions.

Government coalition

Besides ruling party PPM, the government coalition consists of Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), Jumhooree Party (JP), Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), Adhaalath Party (AP) and Gaumee Ihthihaadh Party (GIP).

With GIP leader former President Waheed and many of its senior members joining PPM on Wednesday, the party council has announced their decision to dissolve the party.

“I have not set any conditions in joining this party, and am doing so as I believe it will be most beneficial for the country at this time. I have neither asked for any political appointment nor have I asked for any share of the government,” Waheed said, speaking to media at Wednesday’s event.

Earlier in December, rumours arose that Adhaalath Party had left the government coalition, after the party announced it will be contesting in the upcoming local council and parliamentary elections separate from the coalition. The party later refuted the claims on December 8, asserting that although they will contest separately, the party fully supports the government. The party, along with a number of state and deputy minister posts, holds two cabinet seats.

On November 26, JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim said in a party rally that the government had thus far failed to allocate the promised state positions to the party, adding that he believed this could be due to the government being “hectically engaged in other government matters”.

“Our President Abdulla Yameen is an experienced man. Maumoon [Abdul Gayyoom, former President and Leader of PPM], too, is a person who has far more political experience than seen otherwise in the history of the Maldives. They will certainly not act in a way which will deprive us of benefits,” he said then.


Dr. Saud appointed Acting Secretary General of Jumhoori Party

Dr. Mohamed Saud has been appointed on Monday as the Acting General Secretary of business tycoon and 2013 election’s second runner-up candidate Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhoori Party (JP).

“[JP General Secretary Hassan] Shah is now in a party slot as a state minister in this government. He must give time to government duties as well. There is a lot of ongoing work at the moment due to the two approaching elections. This means there is a lot of internal administrative work of the party that needs to be attended to,” Saud said in an interview to local news website SunOnline.

He stated that he will remain in the position until the party’s council decides otherwise.