Maldives’ records show 60mm sea-level rise in last 20 years, says Gayoom

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has told the 15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit that recordings in the Maldives show sea levels rose by 60mm in the last 20 years.

While speaking at the summit today (January 5), Gayoom said that changes to the Maldives’ environment in the last 20 years were concerning and far worse than previously estimated, adding that global warming is one of the biggest problems faced by island nations.

“We are seeing many changes in the environment which were not present when the Millennium Development Goals were set up, small nations like us are concerned about this,” said the former president.

Gayoom has recently called upon leaders of developed nations to allow small island states to lead the world in efforts to combat climate change, with the Maldives recently becoming chair of the Alliance of Small Island States.

This year marks the third time Gayoom has spoken at the Delhi summit, organised by The Energy and Resources Institute, picking up a sustainable development award in 2009.

Source: Haveeru


Campaigns, celebrations and a supposedly vehicle-free evening: Eid in Male’

The Maldives celebrated Fitr Eid on Thursday, August 8 with Eid prayers at the Maafannu stadium, state organised parades, music shows, traditional games and vehicle-free streets.

Several presidential candidates contesting in the September 7 presidential elections also organised separate events on the day.


In celebration of Fitr Eid Male’ City Council, the Transport Authority and the Maldives Police Service declared that motorised vehicles would not be allowed to drive on the streets of the capital city Male’ and Hulhumale’ between 4-10pm on Thursday.

A message tweeted by the official Twitter account of the police, which was later deleted, stated “Fitr Eid to be a day of no motorists so violators will be persecuted”, with an attached statement reading that any motorists driving without a special permit from the Transport Authority would be prosecuted under the Transport Act.

According to Transport Authority records by late 2011 the number of motorcycles alone in Male’ – an island with an area of 5.8 square kilometres and populated by over 103,000 people according to a 2006 census – will be 42,062.

Residents of the highly congested city anticipate the annual traffic-free event, and as a results the streets are filled with persons of all ages.

Despite the cautionary announcements, Minivan News spotted a number of motorcycles and a large number of private cars on the streets during the time allocated for the ‘no vehicle’ event.

In addition to this, Minivan News also observed three state vehicles accompanying President Mohamed Waheed’s coalition-organised walk with his political supporters.

One incident observed by Minivan News occurred at 6.15pm on Medhuziyaaraiy Magu.

In one instance, a white police van containing four male officers wearing the camouflage uniform of Special Operations forces drove down Medhuziyaaraiy Magu at 6:15pm at high speed without warning siren or flashing lights, swerving through about a dozen young children on toy vehicles and their families.

Parents pulled children out of the way of the police van with seconds to spare and turned around and stared at the police van in shock. A number of parents started making comments about the “reckless behaviour” of the police force.

The police van stopped about 12 feet away, and the four police officers stared back at the families. The officers spoke amongst themselves and seemed amused. When none of the gathered parents made any move towards the vehicle, the officers laughed loudly, waved and made gestures with their hands at the shocked pedestrians before speeding away in the same manner.

One of the parents present at the place told Minivan News, “I am shocked and outraged, but I shouldn’t be. I already knew we are in a police state, and what better can I expect when I am marking Eid in what is now their country.”

“Look at the state the security forces are in. This country needs a complete overhaul of its systems. Leave aside protecting us from petty criminals, we need to first think of how to protect ourselves and our kids from the police themselves,” said another young mother.

“Why bother having a traffic free Eid in name alone if the police are going to speed around crazily, if every government car is allowed on the street, not to mention half the private cars. This event is a farce, just like everything else in this country. Anyway, I spotted that police van’s license plate number, I’ll see if the Police Integrity Commission has anything to say about this,” another pedestrian added.

A police media official told Minivan News that “police will always keep foremost a concern for public safety, even if trying to reach a crime scene as quick and possible”, adding that such incidents would not occur.

Once the license plate number was shared, the official denied that the said police van had been on the streets at the time of the incident, adding that he would look into it.

According to police, 41 people were fined for unauthorised use of vehicles.

Campaigning on Eid

Following Eid prayers, President Mohamed Waheed Hassan, former President Mohamed Nasheed and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom separately met with citizens to exchange Eid greetings.

President Waheed received people at the former Presidential Palace of Muleeaage, and was accompanied by First Lady Ilham Hussain.

Former President and Leader of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom held an Eid greetings event at Nasandhura Palace Hotel.

In addition to his wife, Nasreena Ibrahim, PPM’s Presidential Candidate and Gayyoom’s half brother Abdulla Yameen and his running mate Mohamed Jameel Ahmed also joined him in greeting ministers, former state officials and members of the public.

Former President and Presidential Candidate Mohamed Nasheed conveyed Eid greetings outside Bandaara Mosque directly after joining Eid prayers.

During the allocated traffic free hours, both President Waheed and the Jumhooree Coalition’s Presidential Candidate Gasim Ibrahim held separate walks on the streets of Male’ with their supporters.

The Jumhoree Party also organised an “entertainment afternoon” for children as part of the party’s Eid celebrations.

Celebrations broken up by Police

While a large crowd gathered in Henveiru for a grand ‘Eid Show’ organised by local telecom operator Dhiraagu, a number of smaller celebrations were broken up by police.

An attendee at a show held on Fareedhee Magu told Minivan News that police had split up their show, with one officer stating that it was “un-Islamic” to enjoy music and dancing on Eid.

A traditional game on Eid is called ‘fenkulhi’ [watergame], where coloured water is thrown at each other by friends and neighbours.

The game was played at a number of locations around Male’, with one photo circulating on social media showing MDP candidate Nasheed joining a group of youngsters in the game.

An eyewitness told Minivan News that one such group playing in Maafannu ward of Male’ was ordered by police to stop playing the game. He also alleged police had “roughed up the boys unnecessarily”.

A police media official denied any such incidents.

“I don’t think anything like that happened. I mean, there are no records of such events,” he said.


Umar Naseer contests dismissal from PPM in Civil Court

Umar Naseer, who lost the presidential primaries of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) to Abdulla Yameen, has submitted a case to the Civil Court seeking a ruling that he was dismissed from the party against the party’s regulations.

Ahmed ‘Maaz’ Saleem, a PPM member who served as Naseer’s campaign manager,  stated that the case also concerned irregularities in the primaries. He reportedly told local media that they did not believe that Naseer’s allegations the primaries were rigged were enough ground for him to be dismissed from a political party in a modern democratic system.

Saleem further claimed that Naseer’s dismissal breached the fundamental regulations of the party itself.

“It’s against democratic principles to dismiss every person who expresses a dissenting view on party matters,” Saleem said.

Saleem went on to criticise other internal issues of PPM, stating that even the party’s Disciplinary Committee consisted of members who remained “under the control of” PPM’s presidential candidate Yameen.

Saleem further stated that a large number of PPM members are still supporting Naseer, and that they would back his claims that the primaries had been rigged through ballot-stuffing, falsifying vote counts and other such actions.

Saleem said that problems had risen in PPM after “a group of corrupt people from some organisation called the PA which does not even have 3000 members” joined the party.

The PA (People’s Alliance) was headed by Abdulla Yameen until the Dhiivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) split and formed the PPM. Yameen then joined PPM, leaving PA to be headed by Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Nazim.

Unfair disciplinary action

Naseer’s close political ally Saleem added that the party had failed to take action against MPs Shifaq Mufeed and Ali Arif, who had strongly criticised the current government and President Mohamed Waheed Hassan in parliament, despite the party’s council having ruled it would not publicly criticise the government as they were part of its coalition.

“President Maumoon himself expressed concern about this action of the MPs,” Saleem was quoted as saying in local media.

“The decision to not criticise this government was made in a council meeting chaired by President Maumoon himself. And then these MPs acted against this decision right in front of MP Abdul Azeez Jamaal (Chair of PPM’s Disciplinary Committee). And even then, the committee did not even look into the matter. Tell me then, where is the justice in them taking action against Umar Naseer?”

Cases against PPM primaries

Saleem further said that “it is not a sensible line of action” to dismiss Naseer for alleging the primaries had been rigged, while there is an ongoing case in the Civil Court submitted by a general member of PPM regarding vote rigging in the primaries.

Earlier this month, member of PPM Rahma Moosa has lodged a case in the Civil Court challenging the results of the party’s presidential primary.

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

Moosa alleged that the move breached the Political Party Act and compromised the rights of all general members of the party.

PPM Spokesperson Ahmed Mahloof’s phone was switched off at the time of press.

Umar Naseer was not responding to calls. Earlier this month his secretary stated that, as a rule, he would not conduct interviews with Minivan News.


“I will lead Maldives out of a failing democracy, we don’t want a phobiocracy”: PPM presidential candidate

The newly elected presidential candidate of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Abdulla Yameen on Tuesday night delivered his first address to supporters following the conclusion of the primaries.

“Our motto is ‘nation first’”, Yameen stated. “Any other parties who genuinely want to join us can come knock on our door anytime. You are welcome at any time, whether it be day or late at night.”

“I am not trying to be elected President for want of a castle. I don’t want such a palace. It is also not with the intention of challenging competitors. This is why I’m telling my opponent in the party itself, too, to stop competing with me. I do not intend to compete with anyone. I am here to fight the battle of solving the many issues our country is facing now,” Yameen said.

“I want to repair the damaged social fabric of this country. I want to bring Maldives out of this failing democracy, save it from the impeding dictatorship and establish a modern democracy as facilitated by the systems set in place by our Constitution. We do not want a phobiocracy. We want development and modernisation.”

While the losing candidate who contested against Yameen, Umar Naseer, held his own rally on Monday night, PPM announced Tuesday’s rally to be “the first gathering held by the party after the primaries”.

The statement was made after Naseer aired serious allegations against Yameen during Monday night’s rally, accusing him of a variety of offences including forming alliances with drug cartels, vote buying and various other forms of corruption.

Meanwhile, the party’s council released a ruling after an emergency meeting held Tuesday afternoon, ordering Umar Naseer to offer a public apology for the comments he had made and for holding a gathering ‘against the party’s regulations’ before the commencement of Wednesday night’s official rally.

The council further ruled that should Naseer fail to put forward an apology within the assigned duration, the council would take further disciplinary action against him.

Umar Naseer was not responding to calls at the time of press. Local media has meanwhile reported that he refused to comment on the matter.

Playing in defence

“Many attacks have come at me from inside and out. I do not wish to defend myself, but I will make some comments here for your sake, as you should know the character of the person to whom you have pledged support,” Yameen told the crowds.

“I swear upon Allah that none of the things I have been alleged of doing can be proven against me. I am here with much more stability than that. If I had such actions on my conscience, I would not have stepped out for public service.”

“Just so as to offer consolation for you all, I am saying this. I am not a rich man. I do not own apartments in other countries. I do not control gangs. I am not involved in the illegal drug trade. I do not have even a small connection with the murder of MP Afrasheem Ali,” Yameen said.

“I would like to add that for the sake of our party, let us stop making allegations like this. We are far more responsible and well-established to be making comments of this nature.”

“Most democratic primaries ever held”: Gayoom

PPM Party Leader former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom addressed the hundreds of party supporters at the rally, stating that the recently concluded party primaries were “the most responsible, free and fair, transparent primaries ever held by a political party in the country to date.”

“Both candidates who competed in the primaries showed high competitiveness in the spirit of democracy,” Gayoom stated.

“These historic, free and extremely fair primaries were won by Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom. I congratulate him in your name and mine,” Gayoom continued.

“At the same time, Umar Naseer, who could not win the primaries, also contacted me via phone after the results were announced. He said to me that he accepted the results, and extended congratulations to Abdulla Yameen. He further said he believed the primaries had proceeded in a very fair manner. Naseer also said that the campaign office he had built was from that moment on gifted to PPM, and hence I would like to thank him for the democratic example he has displayed with these actions,” he stated.

Both Gayoom and Yameen have claimed that the party has 31,000 “genuine” members now, and called on the members to each find two new members by the end of May.

“This is not difficult. If we each get two more members, we will soon have 93,000 members and with a little more effort we can easily achieve 100,000,” Gayoom said.

“Our party has the highest number of genuine members now. By that I mean that all 31,000 of our members have submitted complete details of themselves to authorities, including even their fingerprints. The other parties have not done so,” Gayoom alleged.

Official figures on the Elections Commission website show that PPM currently has 22,383 members, with an additional 1671 forms awaiting clearance.

“Our loyalties should be to the party, not to Maumoon”: Gayoom

“Our party always acts in accordance with law and regulations, and it must continue to do so,” Gayoom said. “All party members must follow the party’s regulations. No one is above these regulations. We are obliged to act in accordance with the regulations, or else people will start acting as they please, which would lead us astray from our objectives.”

Gayoom referred to the breaking up of his previous party Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) into factions, stating that he had made a stand for Umar Naseer when DRP had tried to dismiss him from the party in breach of their regulations.

“I stood up for his rights, but then DRP started acting towards me in a very demeaning manner. They went on TV and said they did not need me, my advice or opinions. And so, I had to leave that party. This is an experience I have had related to the importance of following regulations.”

“Article 69 of our regulation states clearly that all PPM members must pledge allegiance to the presidential candidate. We cannot say that we will support him if he acts in any particular way. That is simply not an option,” Gayoom said.

“Our loyalties should not lie with an individual. It should not be pledged to a certain Maumoon, or to anyone besides Maumoon. It should be towards the party itself, with our policies and principles,” he stated.

Furthermore, Yameen called out to Naseer to work with him to lead the party to further successes.

“We were able to win 17 of 20 recent by-elections. This is because of the strength of having worked together, which is why I call out to Umar Naseer to come work with us,” Yameen said.

“The primaries were a test of character of the whole party and its individual members,” Yameen said. “We must not let any weakness seep into the party. Our brother Naseer, who was unfortunate this time and lost the primaries, must also display his test of character now. Our party is larger than any of us individuals,” he continued.

“My biggest strength is that our fountain of wealth, fountain of experience, party leader Gayoom, is here to guide me and our party and lead us. This is my ultimate happiness,” Yameen stated.

Autism Awareness Day

With April 2 declared Autism Awareness Day and marked widely throughout the Maldives, many speakers at the rally pledged support to families with autistic patients.

“Today is the internationally marked day for families with autistic kids to raise awareness in countries of the challenges that they face. Thus, in commemoration of this day, I really wish to extend my heartfelt sympathies, love and support to such children, and so I have now done that,” Gayoom stated.

Presidential candidate Yameen said in his speech, “This is the Autistic Day, isn’t it? If one is not autistic, whichever way one looks, one would doubtless see the development that has been brought to this country in the 30 years.”

Yamin’s comments, though applauded at the  rally, were criticised in social media as being offensive and insensitive.

Responding to criticism and demands for an apology, PPM Spokesperson Ahmed Mahloof initially tweeted “Yameen’s comments on autism are being twisted by MDP (Maldivian Democratic Party) members after watching our rally and not being able to digest it.”

He then tweeted an apology on behalf of Yameen, stating “Yameen apologises if there was any misinterpretation of his comments with regard to autism.”

Yameen has since released an official statement on Wednesday, echoing Mahloof’s allegations of political opponents distorting his words and apologising if there was room for misinterpretation.

He also pledged to advocate for the rights of persons with special rights, and offered assurance that such persons will be given equal opportunities in the instance that PPM wins the September 7 elections.


“Come and contest. This time, we will defeat you in a single round”: Nasheed challenges Gayoom

The Maldivian Democratic Party held a several thousand strong rally on Wednesday night despite a police takeover of Usfasgandu, the party’s rally ground in Male’, and a warning from Minister of Home Affairs Mohamed Jameel that the police would not allow the rally to be held in the area.

Police cordoned off the main rally ground and surrounding streets, with MDP members and supporters standing just beyond police lines. The rally was held adjacent to the protest site.

Crowds gathered an hour before the scheduled start of the rally and heated verbal exchanges took place between the protestors and approximately thirty police officers at the location. Minivan News observed two protesters being led away by police. However Police Media Official Sub Inspector Hassan Haneef said that no arrests were made in the area.

First a Maldivian, then a police officer

Many speakers at Wednesday night’s rally called on the police to step down and cooperate with the citizens, saying they were “first a Maldivian and then a police officer”.

“You should be ashamed to stay there in uniform when you are being used as political weapons,” said MP Ali Waheed, addressing the police officers.

Former MDP Chairperson Mariya Ahmed Didi called on police to back down, saying the party members would not step back until they had guaranteed their freedoms and rights.

“We don’t care how big a power tries to tell us this is not a coup, whether it be the Commonwealth or the UN. We have no doubts about what we saw with our own eyes. We have no doubts about which shoes, which batons have been beating us,” Mariya said.

“No member of MDP will go back to their homes before we rid this country of this culture of violence.”

Both Mariya and Nasheed stated that the party’s intention was not to protect the rally grounds, but rather the rights of the citizens.

“It is not Usfasgandu that we are trying to defend, nor any other land either. We are here to protect freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and the right to peaceful political activity. We will do this until our last breath,” Nasheed said.

“Take down these police lines,” Nasheed addressed the police. “There is no one in this country who can come out against the citizens of this country, to hold them back or restrict them. I call on the police and soldiers to step back now.”

“Maumoon is deceiving Yameen and Ilyas again”: Nasheed

Nasheed once again accused current President Mohamed Waheed Hassan of participating in planning a coup with former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

“There is one thing I must say to my former Vice President Waheed. You cannot forever eat the world with deceit. You can only do so for a short while,” Nasheed said.

“If you think that by taking the lead to plan a coup with former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom you people will succeed in getting this country back in your clutches, then you are very much mistaken. We will not let that happen.”

Speaking of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Nasheed said the party was absorbed in in-fighting while MDP was conducting its door-to-door campaign. He alleged that Gayoom was “once again deceiving his brother Abdulla Yameen and brother-in-law Ilyas Ibrahim” by feigning refusal to run in the presidential elections.

“Maumoon has been pulling the wool over Abdulla Yameen’s eyes for a good 15 years now, telling him he won’t be running for president,” Nasheed said.

“He creates rifts between Yameen and Ilyas, and then, in the name of peace making, takes the reigns himself. He has been doing this for ages, and will do so again. Come and contest. We will defeat you again. This time, we will defeat you in a single round,” Nasheed said.

At the end of his speech, Nasheed made reference to the recent allegations plans of assassination plots against him.

“You can plan to poison me, you can plan to shoot me, you can conspire to do anything at all. But the final will is not that of Jameel, Waheed or Saeed. Accept it, the final will is that of Almighty God,” Nasheed said.

“None of you must be mistaken, be it the judges or the police and army. I am repeatedly saying that on the 11th of November 2013, it will once again be me who is sworn in as President of this nation.”

Police have closed off the MDP rally grounds following an order from High Court released Wednesday, stating the area shall be kept under the care of the police and not used for any purpose until the court reaches a verdict on the matter.


Nasheed invites Gayoom to talks, offers apology

Ousted President Mohamed Nasheed has offered to apologise to former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom for accusing him of masterminding the change of government, were the leader of 30 years to agree to participate in the the All Party Talks.

Gayoom this week accused Nasheed of continuously making baseless comments about him in both the local and the international community, particularly that the former President had masterminded a coup d’état on February 7.

“With such a person, I do not wish to sit down and negotiate,” Gayoom said.

In an official statement on Sunday, Nasheed argued that his allegations were based on public statements made by Gayoom and those closely affiliated with him politically, including his family members – many of whom now hold senior positions in government.

Gayoom had called for Nasheed’s government to be brought down prior to departing for Malaysia in January, a month before Nasheed resigned amid a police mutiny.

“President Gayyoom stated that it was time to bring an end to the government entrusted upon me in my capacity as President of Maldives, and that the instigation of the enterprise was already overdue,” Nasheed said.

Vice President of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Umar Naseer had stated on many occasions that he had personally staged and directed the coup from ‘the command centre’, noted Nasheed.

“Naseer also met with my Vice President, Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik (now President) prior to the coup, along with all parties affiliated with the 23rd December coalition, and implored Dr Waheed to take over the post of the President of the Republic on the sole condition that having usurped the presidency,  he would refuse to resign from his post,” Nasheed said.

Naseer, in an interview given to the SBS dateline program “Mutiny in Maldives” in February, explained in English what happened from the perspective of the opposition demonstrators on February 7.

“We had a small command centre where we do all the protests. I command from the centre and give instructions to my people. On the protesters’ side, we were informing and educating the police and army through our speeches and television programs,” Naseer said at the time.

Nasheed also highlighted that statements from MPs now aligned with the government, including PPM MP Ilham Ahmed and Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) MP Riyaz Rasheed, had expressed gratitude to Gayoom and his family following the toppling of Nasheed’s government.

“Subsequent to my resignation under duress on the 7thof February, Ilham Mohamed, the Honorable Member for the Gemenafushi Constituency and Vice President of the PPM, and Riyaz Rasheed, the Honorable Member for the Vilufushi Constituency, stated in an interview on the day of the coup that all thanks for the accomplishment of ‘this enterprise’, referring to the staging of the coup and overthrow of the government, were owed to President Gayoom and his family,” Nasheed said.

The former opposition parliamentarians had attested that President Gayoom’s son, Farish Maumoon, was instrumental throughout that entire night to the operation which accomplished “the enterprise”.

Nasheed also noted that Gayoom’s daughter and family members, being “part and parcel to the current coup government”, had “attained high offices within it.”

Nasheed contested that Gayoom had never denied that he had committed these actions on behalf of the political party to which he belonged, nor had he condemned any of the “aforementioned actions”.

“Nevertheless, in a predicament such as we are, and whilst the people of Maldives are overtly distressed by what has transpired after the coup, I have come to know that President Gayoom has said that he would sit with me for dialogue in the event I apologise for stating that it was he who instigated this coup,” Nasheed said.

Nasheed said he “firmly believed” that the powers of the Maldivian state were vested with the Maldivian people and should remain as such.

“Given that not for a single moment would I wish for someone unelected by the people of Maldives to entertain himself as leader to them, I believe now is the time for all parties to come forth in support of the best interest of the nation and its citizens, and as such, if President Gayoom indeed was not party to the coup, I have decided to apologise to President Gayyoom for the fact that I said he was behind this coup,” Nasheed concluded.

Nasheed also thanked facilitator of All Party Talks, Ahmed Mujuthaba, for “all the efforts” exerted by him to ensure that the negotiations succeeded.

Mujuthaba last week announced that a series of “high level” discussions will be held between President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan and the leaders of the largest political parties, to try and relieve growing political tension in the Maldives after the failure of talks in June.

Gayoom’s “humble refusal”

In a rally held yesterday by the PPM in Addu City, Gayoom publicly spoke vigorously condemned his successor, claiming that Nasheed had a habit of defaming him to both the local and international community.

Gayoom said that he had “humbly refused” a request from United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Patricia Butenis, to take part in the All Party Talks along with Nasheed.

He dismissed Nasheed’s claims that the controversial transfer of power was a coup d’état, but commended the acts of the mutinying police and military officials.

Following Gayoom’s statement, MDP Spokesperson MP Imthiyaz Fahmy said that it was disappointing to see Gayyoom refusing to take part in the All Party Talks.

“With the country fallen into this grave state, it is saddening to see Gayoom refusing to take part in the All Party Talks, a negotiation that is highly related to the public interest of the country,” Imthiyaz said, and called on the former President to prioritise the country before his own personal interest.

Imthiyaz said the MDP was ready to come to the negotiation table, a sentiment matched by former MP and MDP Legal affairs committee member Ibrahim ‘Ibra’ Ismail.

“I was once the President of the MDP. Nasheed was the Chairperson then. We both were harassed and tortured during Gayoom’s regime because we were opposed to his rule,” Ibra said. “But even then we were both prepared to talk to Gayoom and his government on issues that concerned the national interest,” he recalled.

Government demands “sincerity” from Nasheed

President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza said he doubted the sincerity of Nasheed’s “official apology”.

“Nasheed needs to show his sincerity and his commitment to the talks. If things are to materialise from the All Party Talks, [Nasheed] needs to win back trust and support from leaders of the other political parties,” he said.

Riza claimed that several political parties had expressed concerns following the ongoing protests by the MDP, alleging that Nasheed was behind the ongoing political “violence” and that this would affect the talks.

“All the political parties have raised concerns with the government regarding the ongoing political violence in the country. Nasheed should stop taking his supporters to the street and bring an end to the ongoing violent protests in order to win back the trust and support of other political parties,” Riza suggested.

The last round of All Party Talks collapsed after parties aligned with the government presented the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) with a list of 30 demands.

The list included calls that the MDP “stop practicing black magic and sorcery”, “stop the use of sexual and erotic tools”, and “not walk in groups of more than 10”.

Riza said PPM council members had informed him they would come to a decision regarding Nasheed’s apology after a party council meeting, but said several were not in support of sitting down to negotiate with Nasheed.

“Some of them have said that they are not necessarily against talking to the MDP, but that it has to be someone else from the party and not Nasheed,” he added.

“The first thing on the agenda [of the talks] is to stop the ongoing political violence in the country. So there has to be peace to begin talks,” he said.