Five MPs will join DRP when parliament resumes, claims DRP Deputy Leader

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Deputy Leader and Spokesperson Ahmed ‘Mavota’ Shareef has claimed that “four or five” members of parliament will join the DRP when parliament resumes.

Speaking at a DRP press conference, Shareef said next month there will be a ceremony to celebrate the joining of the new MPs, however he declined to provide further information.

Shareef also told the press that “about 1000” people had expressed interest in joining DRP in the future.

He further claimed that five “hardcore Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activists” had joined the party.

DRP Parliamentary Group Leader and MP Dr Abdulla Mausoom today told Minivan News that he did not wish to disclose any information on the matter.

‘’Due to the current political environment in the country, MPs and supporters will keep shifting parties for the next three or four months,’’ Dr Mausoom said. ‘’It will go like that until the major political parties elect their presidential candidates.’’

Dr Mausoom predicted that after the major political parties elect their candidates, the shifting of MPs and supporters would settle.

Former MDP MP Abdulla Abdulraheem recently shifted to the DRP.

“I, on March 27, 2012, have decided to rejoin DRP as the principles of MDP contradict the principles I believe in,” he claimed. “I’m quitting MDP and resigning for the DRP as I know the party will always welcome me,” Haveeru quoted him saying during the signing ceremony at the DRP office.

Earlier this month MDP MP for Fuvamulah central constituency Shifaq Mufeed joined former President Maumon Abdul Gayoom’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).


Opposition coalition to hold “national symposium” on February 24

The 23 December Coalition of religious NGOs and opposition political parties has decided to hold another mass gathering on February 24, calling the government to yield to the demands of the December 23 protest to “defend Islam”.

In press conference held today, coalition spokesperson Abdullah Mohamed clarified that the coalition is not organising a protest, while referring to the gathering as a “national symposium” to raise the voice of the people.

“We welcome people from all the islands to come and join the symposium on February 24,” Mohamed said.

The coalition representatives declined to give information to the press on the how the symposium would proceed, though Mohamed pointed out that the symposium will be organized according to the “pulse of the people”.

Hinting that “it will not be held under a roof”, Mohamed said only that “the symposium will be held in a location similar to where we held the previous rally”.

Five demands were previously addressed to the government: prohibit Israeli flights from operating in the Maldives, close all massage parlors “and such places where prostitution is practiced”, reverse the decision allowing the sale of alcohol in areas of inhabited islands declared ‘uninhabited’ – such as in Addu City and Fuvahmulah where the government plans to build city hotels – condemn UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay and apologise for her comments against flogging, and remove allegedly “idolatrous” SAARC monuments in Addu City.

The government subsequently addressed each point, most notably ordering that spa operations be shut down across the country and announcing that it would consider a ban on pork and alcohol in the interest of “respecting Islamic principles.”

The 2012 State Budget leans heavily on expected revenue from tourism.

Speaking at the press conference opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Deputy Leader ‘Mavota’ Ibrahim Shareef said that the symposium is among a “series of actions” to be organised by the coalition.

“This time we are calling to defend Islam and the nation”, he observed.

Shareef said a delegation from the coalition will visit Sri Lanka to explain the December 23 protest and demands to officials of embassies unspecified, as it claims the Maldivian government has spread “many lies” to defame the coalition.

The coalition also intends to meet with international press to give accurate information.

Furthermore, the coalition intends to mark a “special day to inform the demands to President Mohamed Nasheed”, Shareef said, adding that the President is deliberately “twisting the meanings to aggravate us”.


DRP files case against Z-faction for using its logo and name

The opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) led by Ahmed Thasmeen Ali has lodged a complaint with the Elections Commission (EC) alleging that the party’s Z-DRP faction, led by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, had misappropriated DRP’s name and logo to conduct unauthorised political activities, and requested the EC take action against the faction.

DRP Spokesperson Ibrahim ‘Mavota’ Shareef told Minivan News that the party’s real concern was not that the faction was using its logo and name, which DRP MP Nihan has claimed he designed and retained rights to.

‘’It is a much greater concern when people claiming to represent [the party’s] administration and claiming to work to protect the rule of law come out and start violating those laws,’’ said Shareef. ‘’If that is the case, the public might develop a habit of disrespecting the law, and the whole nation may be affected because of this.’’

Shareef explained that the public was “new to democracy” and the principles of it, and said that leaders needed to set an example.

‘’We might think this is very funny and that this is a joke,’’ he said. ‘’But it’s much more dangerous than we thought, and it has more concerns behind it.’’

Shareef said that all political parties should respect their charters and follow it, “for it is not Gayoom’s, Thasmeen’s or my idea.”

‘’Humans do not last forever, and neither does the person in the leadership position, but when people fade away there will be the charter left behind,’’ Shareef said. ‘’That is why people need to follow it, otherwise when the leader dies, the party will die with him.’’

Furthermore, Shareef said that if the country goes on moving in the same direction, “tomorrow one might take an oath and say ‘I am the president now, see I have more supporters than the current president, see all those people who come out for protests whenever I ask.’’’

MP with the Z-DRP faction Ahmed Mahlouf and Umar Naseer did not respond to Minivan News at time of press, while MP Ahmed Nihan was unavailable.


DRP release condemns violence linked to Gayoom supporters

The Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has hit out at violence confrontations it has said are linked to supporters of its founder and supreme leader, Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, calling for party followers to protest peacefully in line with “democratic values” after troubles outside its headquarters.

A representative for the party confirmed that a press release was issued by the party concerning confrontations outside party headquarters on Tuesday February 8, which led police to escort DRP spokesperson and Deputy Leader ‘Mavota’ Ibrahim Shareef to safety after he came under attack. The representative was unable to comment on the press release’s content any further.

Various DRP members along with dismissed Deputy Leader Umar Naseer were also unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

The fracas itself took place after suspected party supporters loyal to Gayoom gathered to call for the resignation of Shareef and party leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali after an audio clip allegedly linked to the party spokesperson, which appeared to suggest the party “beat” the former president and his supporters away from Aduu Atoll during elections campaigning, was leaked to the press.

Coverage of the audio clip led some party supporters to gather outside the DRP headquarters in protest, leading to police escorting Shareef to safety after he came under attack.  Shareef later claimed that while the voice in the leaked audio clip was his, they had been edited from their original meaning.

The press release has not been seen by Minivan News. However, according to newspaper Miadhu, the release condemned violence “instigated” by alleged supporters and security personnel of Gayoom, calling on genuine party followers to avoid trying to stir up violent confrontations and respect the rules and regulations of the party.

The calls come after an official party meeting held back in December resulted in violence that led to police intervention after former Deputy Leader Umar Naseer attempted to enter the meeting after being dismissed by the party. The disturbance was linked to a growing war of words between Thasmeen and Naseer, with the latter still choosing to campaign with the party during local council elections alongside Gayoom.


“We will beat them up and drag them away”: transcript of Mavota’s alleged phone call

In a leaked phone conversation allegedly between Spokesperson and Deputy leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) ‘Mavota’ Ibrahim Shareef and another member of DRP, a voice believed to be Shareef questions Gayoom’s support in Addu and suggested that were Gayoom’s faction to campaign there, “we will beat them up and drag them away [from Addu].”

The source of the leaked phone call, which has been aired on MNBC and DhiFM, has not been identified or its authenticity yet confirmed or denied.

Voice S: Definitely there would not be 99 percent of DRP supporters in Addu behind Maumoon.

Voice A: Just now, Shareef…

Voice S: The support for me would be much higher than that.

Voice A: Yes but just think…

Voice S: What did I say then, the result of all this will be MDP remaining in the administration…

Voice S: Istead of that [if he’s going to Addu] without having any connection with us, but with Umar Naseer and Ilham, he [Gayoom] will have to forget it. I tell you now, it would even be impossible to step on Addu without inviting us.

Voice A: What?

Voice S: We will beat them up and drag them away [from Addu].

Voice A: Zaeem? [Zaeem – literally honorary leader]

Voice S: Yes… will have to forget going to Addu during his visits [to islands].

DRP supporters who had heard the audio clip broadcast of MNBC and DhiFM gathered outside DRP’s headquarters this morning and called for Shareef and party Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali to resign.

Shareef then came out of DRP’s head office to address the protesters, but was attacked escorted to safety by police.

After police took Shareef away, the gathered people called on the resignation of Thasmeen. Minor confrontations between both sides of the party were reported.

Among the spectators of the incident this morning were many Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters.

The Council Meeting

In a meeting of the DRP council meeting this afternoon – with Gayoom’s members noticeably absent –  the party decided to sign a coalition agreement with Hassan Saeed’s Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), pledging cooperation in the 2013 presidential election, and the parliamentary and local council elections to be held in 2014.

Haveeru reported that Dr Hassan Saeed had sided with the current leader of DRP, Ahmed Thasmeen Ali.

DRP MP Abdulla Mausoom confirmed the arrangement and said that the party would soon issue a press statement regarding the agreement.


Blood spilt in DRP-MDP scuffle

Three men attacked and injured an Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporter during a protest outside TVM studios last night.

MDP and DRP supporters had gathered outside TVM and were shouting abuse at each other while Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ahmed Nihan was inside appearing on a TV program.

Minivan News witnessed three men attack the MDP supporter, who was left with a bleeding forehead.

Police arrived and took the injured man, Ibrahim ‘Baikendi’ Manik, to hospital, and had to restrain MDP supporters from attacking a DRP member.

Ibrahim claimed he had “no idea” why the he was attacked, and said his forehead and wrist were injured in the incident and he collapsed.

DRP spokesman Ibrahim Shareef said the attackers were not DRP supporters, and that “while MDP supporters often attack DRP members, DRP supporters never attack MDP supporters.”.

Police Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said no arrests had been made, and the case was considered closed.