Local media has reported that Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali will be appointed President Mohamed Waheed’s running mate next Monday, however the parties have yet to confirm the decision.
“We’re getting ready for the day. We will officially begin our campaign that day,” a senior official from one of the coalition parties told Haveeru.
Despite the growing speculation surrounding Thasmeen’s candidacy, Waheed’s Gaumee Ithihaad Party (GIP) and DRP have not made any official announcements.
“So far I have not received confirmation. There is speculation, but these are rumours only, I cannot confirm,” GIP Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza told Minivan News today (June 4).
DRP Deputy Leader MP Dr Abdulla Mausoom refused to comment on the matter.
Following an inaugural rally of President Waheed’s coalition held May 24, local media reported that Thasmeen was likely to become Dr Waheed’s running mate.
A senior member of the coalition told local news website CNM that Thasmeen’s appointment was “almost finalised” and other coalition parties had no objections.
In May, the government-aligned DRP announced it would be joining the religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) and the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) in a coalition backing President Waheed.
Both the DQP and GIP are small political parties currently facing potential dissolution for lacking the minimum requirement of 10,000 members as stipulated in the recently passed Political Parties Act.
Coup parties consolidating: MDP
“Our concern is the involvement of Waheed and Thasmeen in the coup. That is the disturbing thing for us. We are now seeing the active coup participants come together,” Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor told Minivan News today.
“Thasmeen was at police headquarters [on February 7] seen hugging Gasim [Ibrahim], [Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) leader and current presidential advisor Dr Hassan] Saeed, [recently sacked Home Minister Dr Mohamed] Jameel and other non MPs,” said Ghafoor.
“The coup parties are consolidating themselves into one opposition party to defend themselves,” he continued. “We suspect [Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Presidential candidate MP Abdulla] Yameen will have to follow suit.”
“It is disappointing that the alternative to the PPM, which we hoped [would be the DRP], has double crossed their members,” Ghafoor said.
“The cost to the party is that Thasmeen as lost some of the most valuable DRP MPs and there are no guarantees [he and Waheed will win the presidential elections],” he noted. “Thasmeen has really divided a promising party, he has not done them any favors.”
“We always had some hope the DRP would make a coalition with MDP and [in return] we would forget about [their role in] the coup,” he lamented.
“Come next week the situation could change, it’s very fickle,” Ghafoor concluded.
Any two can become a company: PPM
“Most probably [Waheed] may appoint Thasmeen, it’s a foregone conclusion, he has no other choice,” PPM MP and Campaign Media Manager Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News today.
“It will have no impact on the election. Any two people can become a company,” Nihan said.
“In terms of members and political participation PPM and MDP are the only two proven parties,” he added.
Nihan estimated that PPM currently has between 31,000 and 32,000 members, while current DRP members are not active or do not realise they are still registered with the party.
Nihan also refuted Ghafoor’s allegations that “coup parties are consolidating to defend themselves and Yameen will have to follow suit”.
“On 7 February 2012, what has happened, happened. The MDP still believes it was a coup, however PPM does not. The transition was fine, the CoNI was fine,” said Nihan.
“We have been hanging around and giving our strong support to Waheed to better the country and take care of the people,” he explained. “It is still difficult to find basic services on the islands and we want to make things better.”
However, Nihan alleged that Waheed’s administration is now firing PPM members from various government positions – such as former Home Minister Jameel – and appointing his own supporters in their place, as well as giving them high salaries in exchange for votes in the presidential election.
“The PPM has been sidelined. It is a misconception we should have to follow. They should back off because PPM has strength,” declared Nihan.
2012 police headquarters celebration
Local television station Raajje TV aired a video clip on in March 2012 showing senior then-opposition figures inside police headquarters on February 7, prior to the resignation of former President Mohamed Nasheed.
In the video, Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim makes a comment thanking Allah that former president Mohamed Nasheed resigned before the use of military force.
Thasmeen Ali, shown standing directly in front of Gasim at the time, told Minivan News that he does not recollect Gasim’s statement. “It was very loud,” Thasmeen said.
The video clip depicts former opposition leaders at the time celebrating inside the police head quarters, exchanging hugs, and shouting “Allah Akbar” and “Thank Allah” shortly before Nasheed’s public television resignation of February 7.
According to Raaje Tv’s timeline of the video, inside the Police HQ, current Police Commissioner, Abdulla Riyaz tells the gathered group — which includes Thasmeen, Saeed, former Home Minister and current PPM Vice Presidential running mate Dr Mohamed Jameel, current State Minister for Islamic Affairs Mohamed Didi, current Deputy Commissioner of Police Hussein Waheed, current Foreign Minister Dr Abdul Samad, current Minister of State for Tourism, Arts and Culture Ahmed Shameem, Fonadhoo MP Ali Saleem, and the Adhaalath Party’s Asadullah Shafee — that he has now shared the mutinying police’s demands with the opposition leaders and asks them to give the police a response.