Government must reward those who helped win presidency: Yameen

President Abdulla Yameen has refuted allegations that his administration was creating a high number of political posts, but said the government must provide incentives for those who helped him win the presidency.

“We are not creating useless political positions just to appoint persons to them,” Yameen told the press at a Wednesday event in which former President Dr Mohamed Waheed and senior members of his party joined his ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

Yameen said members of the ruling coalition were only raised to political positions after the resignation or dismissal of those who currently filled the posts.

“What I want to tell all politicians and citizens regarding this matter is that in reality, it is the work of a united group that made it possible for us to get this presidential term for ourselves. And so even citizens will accept that this government must provide incentives for those who took part in that work and put in responsible work. That cannot be called partiality towards them,” Yameen said.

He went on to say that political positions must be filled with individuals who share the ideology of the government, and who will work to reach the same goals, adding that this must be inclusive of government coalition members.

Yameen pointed out that the coalition would not be complaining about failure to receive jobs if his government was increasing the number of existing positions.

However, he pledged to assign all promised positions under the coalition agreement to all the involved political parties.

He called on those who are currently filling political positions who are not part of the government coalition to leave their jobs and “make space” for those within it.

The current administration has 112 known political positions within the government; 15 cabinet ministers, 3 other ministerial rank positions, 33 appointees at the level of state minister, 50 appointees at the level of deputy minister and 11 high commissioners and ambassadors, as per the President’s Office website.

These 112 positions do not account for presidential appointees to the boards of state enterprises and other institutions.

Government coalition

Besides ruling party PPM, the government coalition consists of Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), Jumhooree Party (JP), Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), Adhaalath Party (AP) and Gaumee Ihthihaadh Party (GIP).

With GIP leader former President Waheed and many of its senior members joining PPM on Wednesday, the party council has announced their decision to dissolve the party.

“I have not set any conditions in joining this party, and am doing so as I believe it will be most beneficial for the country at this time. I have neither asked for any political appointment nor have I asked for any share of the government,” Waheed said, speaking to media at Wednesday’s event.

Earlier in December, rumours arose that Adhaalath Party had left the government coalition, after the party announced it will be contesting in the upcoming local council and parliamentary elections separate from the coalition. The party later refuted the claims on December 8, asserting that although they will contest separately, the party fully supports the government. The party, along with a number of state and deputy minister posts, holds two cabinet seats.

On November 26, JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim said in a party rally that the government had thus far failed to allocate the promised state positions to the party, adding that he believed this could be due to the government being “hectically engaged in other government matters”.

“Our President Abdulla Yameen is an experienced man. Maumoon [Abdul Gayyoom, former President and Leader of PPM], too, is a person who has far more political experience than seen otherwise in the history of the Maldives. They will certainly not act in a way which will deprive us of benefits,” he said then.


Former President Waheed dissolves GIP, joins PPM

Former President Mohamed Waheed has decided to join the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) after his Gaumee Ihthihaad Party (GIP – National Unity Party) was dissolved by the party’s council.

Waheed signed for the PPM at a special event attended by President Abdulla Yameen held today.

Other members of the GIP’s leadership also signed for the PPM alongside Waheed.

This includes his political advisor Ahmed Thaufeeq, State Minister of Education Abdulla Nazeer, former President’s Office Spokesperson Masood Imad, Maldivian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Hussain Shihab, former Immigration Controllers Dr Mohamed Ali and Ilyas Hussain Ibrahim, Adnaan Ali and Jaufar Easa Adam.

Waheed said his decision to join PPM is in the best interest of the nation at the current time. He praised PPM for winning “a very competitive and difficult election”, saying it is the PPM that is most capable of overcoming obstacles and facing up to challenges.

GIP Council member Thaufeeq informed local media that the council members had unanimously made the decision to dissolve the party as they did not believe it wise to continue running the party in the present political and economic circumstances.

“We agreed that the current political and economic situation makes it difficult for small parties to function here. We believe that dissolving the party would be beneficial to the nation and citizens as the state spends large amounts from its budget on funding small political parties,” Thaufeeq said.

Waheed himself led the meeting attended by all ten council members of the party.

Thaufeeq confirmed that the party would complete sending in all formal documentation needed to dissolve the party to the Elections Commission by Thursday.

According to the Elections Commission (EC) website, the GIP – which was officially registered on September 4, 2008 – currently has 5864 signed members.

The EC has sent a letter to all parties comprising less than 10,000 members notifying them that they will be dissolved within three months after the ratification of the Political Party Act in September.

In March, when the draft of the political party bill was being discussed, several smaller parties began membership drives to reach the limit of 10,000 members, including the GIP, business tycoon MP Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhooree Party and the religious conservative Adhaalath Party.

Waheed’s GIP was accused of trying to induce people to join throughillegitimate means, in a bid to shore up the party’s membership base. The inducements included offering “music equipment and a place to play for free” as well as “hosting shows and parties” for young people.

Apart from luxurious parties and entertainment, the GIP also allegedly promised highly paid government jobs and promotions in return for joining the party.