MDP asked for cancellation of Nasheed trial: Adheeb

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives’ (PPM) deputy leader and Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb has said the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) asked for cancellation of criminal charges against former President Mohamed Nasheed in exchange for MDP endorsing cabinet ministers.

Nasheed has been charged with the unlawful arrest of a Criminal Court chief judge Abdulla Mohamed. The case is still pending.

MDP International Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor has dismissed Adheeb’s claims, terming them “nothing but blatant lies”.

Adeeb alleged that the MDP had raised Nasheed’s personal interest over national interest in discussions held between the two political parties ahead of the parliamentary vote to endorse cabinet ministers.

The People’s Majlis voted to endorse President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s cabinet yesterday. Six MDP members voted against a three whip line in endorsing eight ministers who MDP had rejected claiming they are ministers of “the coup government.”

Describing Nasheed as a man who “raised self-interest above all with no consideration towards national good”, Adeeb claimed that MDP had “reverted back to it’s old manners”.

“Instead of that exemplary behaviour, what we saw was that the party wants to revert back to its old manners and return to the past. Every time we tried to sit down with MDP and talk about endorsing our government’s ministers, they set the condition that we must recall the case against Nasheed. But we are not a government who will form commission upon commission and engage in digging up people’s past,” Adeeb said in a press briefing on Monday.

“Despite some MDP parliamentarians failing to work responsibly, the brave decision to vote in favour by some among those MPs who have deep-rooted love for the nation made it possible for all our ministers to become endorsed,” Adeeb stated.

“While I won’t accuse all of them, some among MDP attempted to inhibit the development we are trying to bring to this country, and to decrease investor confidence. However, the parliament vote has demonstrated the fact that our party is going steadily forward. That we will bring about the development that the citizens yearn for,” he stated.

Prior to Monday’s vote, President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali had also expressed confidence that the ministers will receive sufficient votes from the parliament, saying at the time that “the government has a very good understanding with the leadership of MDP.”

He added then that the MDP had “put forward a number of suggestions”, but refused to reveal details of the discussion.

“Blatant lies”: MDP

MDP has meanwhile dismissed Adeeb’s allegations as “blatant lies”.

“Adeeb’s comments are nothing but blatant lies. To my knowledge, no one from this party has brought up some a topic or condition with any other person ever. We have set no conditions in discussions about ministers endorsement,” the party’s International Spokesperson Hamid told Minivan News today.

Hamid added that there has been “no formal negotiation between the parties, although there have been unofficial discussions between politicians from over the political spectrum”.

“Over a 1000 regular members of MDP have been placed in detention after the coup d’etat of February 2012, with a wide range of fabricated charges raised against them. I have heard of discussions about this matter between politicians of various parties. MDP does have an expectation that these people must be freed and allowed to return to their normal lives now that there is an elected government in place. They have done no wrong, and the charges against them were fabricated after they were arrested for exercising their right to demonstrate,” Hamid explained.

Former President Nasheed has also dismissed Adeeb’s allegations as false.

“To my knowledge, no such conditions were put forward. This is clear even from MDP parliamentary group’s whipline in the vote,” he is quoted as saying in local media Haveeru.

In Monday’s parliamentary vote to endorse ministers, MDP had enforced a three line whip against voting for 8 of the 15 cabinet ministers, while a free whip had been released in voting for the remaining 7.

A number of parliamentarians had breached the party’s whipline, resulting in the endorsement of all cabinet ministers. One of these members – Mohamed Rasheed – has since joined ruling party PPM.

The MDP leadership has announced that it will reveal the form of action to be taken against those who voted against the whipline after further investigation of the matter.