Talks scheduled this week between senior parliamentary representatives and Vice President Mohamed Waheed Deen will be focused solely on trying to find a resolution to the ongoing suspension of the Majlis, the President’s Office has said.
However, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) today accused government representatives of giving “conflicting” messages after contending that an agreement had been made for discussions to also focus on facilitating early elections to resolve the deadlock surrounding the controversial transfer of power on February 7.
Government Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza told Minivan News today that talks at the President’s Office scheduled for 11am on Tuesday August 14, were being held at the request of Parliamentary Speaker Abdulla Shahid following the suspension of the People’s Majlis late last month.
Abbas maintained that Tuesday’s talks would be focused solely on addressing parliament’s suspension rather than topics already agreed under the agenda of the all-party talks, which include issues such as early elections.
“This meeting is being held at request of the speaker as the various parties felt they needed to speak with the executive,” he claimed.
In a statement released today, the opposition MDP said the vice president had agreed to an offer to engage in dialogue to try and find what it called a way forward in the “current political crisis.”
“[President] Waheed’s government has assigned their Vice-President Mohamed Waheed Deen to participate in the talks agreed among leaders of political parties represented in parliament,” the statement read.
Speaker Shahid opted to suspend parliament “indefinitely” on July 31 after claiming that “an atmosphere of calm necessary to conduct sittings could not be assured” following confrontations between MPs in the Majlis chamber. Several sittings had been cancelled owing to disorder in the lead-up to the suspension amidst reports of MDP MPs confronting the speaker.
On Thursday (August 9), the now opposition Maldivian Democratic Party said that a date to resume parliamentary sessions was “yet to emerge”, though claimed it was confident discussions were on the right track.
MDP spokesperson and MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor today claimed that the severity of the speaker’s decision to suspend parliament last month had effectively seen the country come to a political standstill.
“The party made it very clear at the time in a statement that we would not be cooperating with the Majlis unless we were able to address our grievances,” he said.
Ghafoor added that Tuesday’s talks between key parliamentary figures and the vice president would be aimed at addressing the issue of hosting early elections before those presently scheduled by the Waheed administration for July 2013.
Responding to President’s Office claims that only the issue of parliament’s suspension would be focused on in the talks, Ghafoor alleged that the party was continuing to receive inconsistent responses from the government.
“Right from the start of this process we have seen the government giving us conflicting messages,” he said. “We have chosen to ignore these contradictions for practical purposes.”
As such, the MDP claimed that its representative at the talks – MP Ali Waheed – would look to discuss issues including facilitating early elections.