Thulhaadhoo MP Nazim Rashad becomes third MDP MP to join PPM

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Nazim Rashad signed for the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) last night, becoming the third opposition MP to cross the floor since the parliamentary polls in March.

The addition of the MP for Baa Atoll Thulhaadhoo brings the PPM’s number of MPs in the 18th People’s Majlis to 42 – one short of a simple majority in the 85-member house. However, along with the five MPs of coalition partner Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), the ruling coalition now has 47 MPs.

The opposition MDP’s numbers are reduced to 23 while the Jumhooree Party (JP) has 13 MPs. The religious conservative Adhaalath Party has one MP while Madaveli MP Muaz Mohamed Rasheed remains the sole independent.

Following a signing ceremony at Muleeage last night where Rashad handed over his membership form to President Abdulla Yameen, MP Ahmed Nihan – parliamentary group leader of the PPM – took to social media to announce that the ruling party now has 50 percent of parliamentary seats.

Although the PPM won 33 seats in the March 22 parliamentary elections, four out of five independent MPs along with MDP MP Mohamed Musthafa and two JP MPs switched to the ruling party while MDP MP Ali Mohamed signed for the PPM last month.

MP Nazim Rashad, a former Islam teacher, was elected to the 17th People’s Majlis as an independent and joined the MDP in 2010.

Several MPs who have crossed the floor have said that they joined the ruling party to ensure development of islands in their constituencies.

Speaking to Minivan News today, MDP Spokesperson Imthiyaz Fahmy, however, dismissed the justification as “utter nonsense.”

“They are just baseless and unprincipled. Why did they in the first place get elected with MDP tickets and then defect?” he asked.


MDP will use majority to cut allowances granted to former President Gayoom, says Moosa

Maldivian Democratic Party (MD) Parliamentary Group Leader and MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik has said that an MDP majority will cut allowances granted Maumoon Abdul Gayoom while the former president remains active in politics.

Moosa claimed that the opposition had used their majority to obstruct the government.

”All they did with their majority was increase the expenditure of the government to try an destabilise the economy, while granting allowances for Maumoon.” he said. ”The day that MDP has the full majority of 39 MPs in parliament, will be a day the judges and independent commissions will remember,” he said.

He recalled the day cabinet ministers were dismissed by the parliament after the opposition used its majority to refuse to approve the President’s ministerial appointments.

“That day MMA (Maldives Monetary Authority) Governor Fazeel Najeeb was far away clapping his hands, but I tell you now, when the parliament commences work it will the cabinet ministers who applaud.”

Moosa referred to the corruption allegations against the Deputy Speaker of Parliament and opposition coalition People’s Alliance (PA) MP Ahmed Nazim, claiming that ”Nazim cannot hide from the courts and sit in his chair anymore.”

Moosa said the MDP would give priority to passing the Criminal Procedure Bill, keeping the controversial Sunset Bill aside, and amend the Finance Bill.

Gayoom-faction MP Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News that MDP’s decision to cut the allowances of the former President it would not only harm Gayoom, but President Mohamed Nasheed as well.

”The allowances are granted according to Article 128 of the constitution, so protection and allowances for former Presidents should be granted,” Nihan said. ”That is something given for the hard work Presidents have done for the country and citizens during their time, and we also hope that President Nasheed will remain in the country to serve the people after his administration is over.”

Nihan speculated that the MDP was luring opposition MPs to join the party, seeking a parliamentary majority.

”All Maldivians know that Moosa has personal grudges against Maumoon,” he said. ”It is really an illness that he has, and he needs to find a cure.”

He alleged that Moosa had illegally obtained Rf21 million through a contract with the Thilafushi Corporation – a matter currently being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) – and questioned why “nobody talks about it today.”

”Moosa was once arrested and found guilty of corruption and imprisoned during Maumoon’s administration, but he wasn’t arrested for praying or reciting salawat, he was arrested on corruption charges for attempting to bribe MPs,” Nihan claimed.


MDP regains membership majority

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) is once again the political party with most members in the country, reports Miadhu.

Last Tuesday, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) had claimed membership majority with a total of 32,539.

According to Miadhu, the Elections Commission (EC) said MDP reached 33,270 members and had an additional 3,500 forms waiting for verification.