JP office vandalised with crude oil

The Jumhooree Party (JP) office at Maafanu Kunooz in Malé was vandalised with crude oil last night.

JP Spokesperson Ali Solih told local media that two men on a motorcycle hurled crude oil at the door of the party’s headquarters during a press conference by JP Deputy Leader Ameen Ibrahim and Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Chairperson Ali Waheed.

Solih said the incident was reported to police along with the license plate number of the motorcycle.

The crude oil was also splashed over JP MP Abdulla Riyaz’s car parked outside the office, he noted.

At last night’s press conference, Ameen meanwhile denied allegations that JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim made a deal with Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb during a meeting at business magnate ‘Champa’ Mohamed Moosa’s residence on Monday night (March 2).

Following the meeting, government-aligned Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) MP Mohamed Saleem withdrew an amendment to the constitution that would have barred Gasim from contesting the presidency in 2018.

Saleem’s amendment proposed adding a 65-year age limit to the eligibility criteria for presidential candidates.

Gasim did not ask for the bill to be withdrawn, Ameen insisted, claiming that he had learned pro-government MPs had decided to withdraw the legislation before the meeting took place.

While Adeeb had offered to withdraw the bill, Ameen said Gasim told the deputy leader of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) he was not overly concerned about the proposed amendment.

As a three quarters majority of the total membership of parliament is needed to amend the constitution, the amendment would have required MDP and JP MPs’ votes to be passed.

Ameen said Gasim and Champa Moosa were longstanding business partners who offered mutual assistance and had a “strong relationship.”

Adeeb arrived halfway through the meeting at Champa Moosa’s invitation, Ameen said, adding that Gasim did not object to Adeeb’s participation.

Gasim asked Adeeb to facilitate the release of former President Mohamed Nasheed and former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim, he continued, and wide-ranging discussions took place on the subject.

Ameen suggested that the timing of the constitutional amendment’s withdrawal was intended to sow discord in the MDP-JP alliance.

The opposition alliance’s joint commission meeting and the press briefing was “clear proof” that Gasim did not make a deal, Ameen said, assuring supporters that the alliance remains strong.

MDP Chairperson Ali Waheed said the government’s main target at present would be breaking up the alliance.

Referring to a group of young men on a pickup chanting slogans against Gasim and calling for Nasheed’s release last night, Waheed alleged it was part of efforts by the PPM to “sow discord” in the alliance.


JP council decides to endorse PPM candidate Yameen in run-off polls

The Jumhooree Party’s (JP’s) national executive council has decided to endorse Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate Abdulla Yameen in the second round of the presidential election scheduled for November 16.

JP presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim told the press following the council meeting that the decision was approved with a “comfortable majority.”

While the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) manifesto had a number of similarities with the JP’s, Gasim said the JP and PPM manifestos shared more in common.

Gasim said he hoped Yameen would be elected and appealed for his supporters to vote for the PPM candidate. The business tycoon added that he would participate in the PPM campaign.

Yameen, who polled 29.73 percent (61,295) in the first round of the presidential election, is due to face MDP candidate Mohamed Nasheed, who won 46.93 percent (96,747) of the vote, in a run-off election on Saturday after neither candidate reached the required 50 percent plus one vote.

Gasim finished in third place with 23.37 percent in the November 9 revote and announced the following day that the party’s council had decided not to back either candidate.

However, both the MDP and PPM had sought Gasim’s endorsement this week. Following a meeting yesterday with the PPM figurehead, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Gasim told the press that he would ask the council to reconsider its decision.

A number of JP, PPM and MDP supporters gathered outside the JP’s main campaign headquarters at Maafanu Kunooz while the council meeting was ongoing. The meeting lasted more than four hours.

While the JP council has 29 members, not all were present at today’s meeting.

Dhivehi Qaumee Party MP Riyaz Rasheed and Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla were present before the start of the meeting at 4:15pm today. The pair left around 5:20pm.

Riyaz however returned around 6:15pm with JP council member and youth wing leader Moosa Anwar, who later tweeted that he was “proud to convince council members that Nasheed is not a choice.”

A dissenting JP council member, Moosa Rameez, tweeted shortly after the meeting that the JP council has “approved maintaining Maumoon’s family rule with 15 votes.”

The council reportedly decided to back Yameen with 15 votes in favour and five abstentions. The five who abstained were former Transport Minister Dr Ahmed Shamheed, JP President Dr Ibrahim Didi, Secretary General Hassan Shah, Moosa Rameez and Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan.

JP Leader Gasim, who chaired the council meeting, reportedly did not participate in the vote or argue in favour of supporting either candidate before calling the vote.

Didi and Shah were formerly senior MDP members while Dr Hussain Rasheed was State Minister for Fisheries in the MDP government. Dr Shamheed had declared that he was “with President Nasheed in the second round” after the announcement of the provisional results on November 9.

JP’s Male’ City Council member Ahmed Hameed ‘Fly’ meanwhile alleged to local media that PPM bribed council members to influence the decision.

Speaking in the state broadcaster Television Maldives’ (TVM’s) Raajje Miadhu programme after the JP council decision tonight, Yameen expressed confidence of winning Saturday’s election with Gasim’s 48,131 votes.