MDP misleading citizens over the extent of support for the party, claims DRP MP Mahlouf

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ahmed Mahlouf, of the faction led by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, today accused the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of “misleading the public over the extent of their support” and “attempting to lure more citizens to the party.”

”In all the elections held so far, be they Local Councils Elections or Parliamentary Elections, the citizens have said they oppose the current government and its party MDP,” Mahlouf claimed. ”So today what MDP do is gather all the supporters they have all around the Maldives and buy MPs, trying to show the rest of the country that they have more support than the opposition.”

Mahlouf alleged that MDP was attempting to “psychologically play with the minds of the citizens.”

”They do have some supporters in Male’, and what they do is gather all their supporters to one place, take pictures and show them to the other citizens, trying to make them feel that MDP has more support than it does,” he said. ”In the Local Council Elections MDP won only 379,494 votes while the opposition won 565,919 votes.”

Mahlouf claimed the MDP would not have won the Presidential elections “without the help of Jumhoory Party (JP) leader MP ‘Burma’ Gasim Ibrahim, Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Hussein Rasheed and Dhivehi Qaumy Party (DQP) leader Dr Hassan Saeed.”

”But they all have turned their backs against this government now – they all want to change this administration,” said Mahlouf. ”It is really a foregone conclusion that MDP will not win the next presidential election in 2013.”

Mahlouf’s comments followed the defection of two DRP MPs, Ali Waheed and Abdu-Raheem, to the ruling MDP, granting the party the largest voting bloc in the Majlis.

MDP MP Mohamed Shifaz said that both Mahlouf and the DRP had “failed”.

”It is regrettable that someone as young as Mahlouf declined to accept democracy and rather decided to follow a single person,” said Shifaz. ”The entire party failed because some among them wanted to follow this one person.”

Shifaz said that regardless of Mahlouf’s figures, 75 percent of the Maldivian population supported the MDP.

”There are unregistered persons who support the idea of MDP,” he said. ”All the MPs who joined MDP, only joined because they wanted to do so.”


DRP MP Ali Waheed to join ruling MDP, claims senior party member

A senior member of  the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP)’s Z-DRP faction has confirmed to Minivan News that the party’s Deputy Leader and Council Member Ali Waheed is shortly to join the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

Head of the DRP’s sports wing, Hassan Shujau, will also join the ruling party along with Waheed, the source said.

The opposition figure confirmed that the pair were shifting sides “after receiving offers that, if they accept, will allow them to live the rest of their lives without doing any work.”

Rumours of Waheed’s possible jump to the MDP began circulating in the media over the weekend.

MDP Parliamentary Group’s former spokesperson, MP Ahmed Shifaz, told Minivan News that Ali Waheed was “99 percent likely to join MDP.”

”Ali Waheed is very, very close to joining MDP,” said Shifaz. ”But I do not have any information that he has joined as of yet.”

Recently MDP Deputy Leader and MP Alhan Fahmy was quoted in local newspaper Haveeru as saying ”the next time I step foot on this land it will be with Ali Waheed.”

Alhan, himself a former opposition MP and now the deputy leader of the ruling party, was speaking at an MDP rally held in Waheed’s North Ari Atoll constituency of Thoddu.

Waheed kept media silence amidst the spread of the rumours that he was intending to shift parties.

Leader of the DRP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali said that he could not believe Waheed would join MDP “unless I see him join.”

”I don’t believe that he will join MDP after getting elected to the parliament on DRP ticket,” Thasmeen said, refusing to speculate on what Waheed’s departure would mean for the party.

DRP Deputy Leader and Spokesperson Ibrahim ‘Mavota’ Shareef said that Waheed had not signed, “and still remains a deputy leader of the DRP. This is propaganda to try to discredit some of us in the party.”

However, “Ali Waheed is a rising star with widespread support, and it would be a great blow to the party if he were to leave,” Shareef acknowledged.

Waheed’s decision comes at a time when the opposition is torn by factional strife, between leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and the ‘Z-DRP’ faction organised around former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who remains the ‘Honorary Leader’ of the party he founded since announcing his political retirement in February 2010.

The DRP’s internal troubles were “not a matter of factions – this is something much deeper,” said Shareef.
The DRP deputy leader suggested that the split was linked to the ideological difference of overthrowing the government through violence rather than electoral victory.
“When we have criticised the government for bad policy, many times they have listened to us. Street action and protests should be the last resort, and even then it should be peaceful protest and not violent disruption of ordinary peoples’ lives. We do not want to polarise this country further,” Shaeef said.

“It is very sad that our Honorary Leader believes that the opposition can under no circumstances support the policies of the government, even if they are good. This is a government elected by the people, and we must honour their decision, and accept it.”

Shareef also expressed concern at criticism leveled at Thasmeen by former President Gayoom, on his arrival to Male’ on the weekend.
“It is very sad, especially given that our honorary leader, who has served for the past 30 years, should now put his own interests before those of the country,” Shareef said.
“They are of the opinion that it is the duty of the opposition to violently overthrow the government. For us, it is not- our objective is to regain power, not by overthrowing the democratically-elected government but by putting forward policy, showing what the government is doing wrong, and reflecting the aspirations of the people. We want this country to prosper. If a policy is good we should support it.”

Jumhoory Party MP Muthalib attacked on Thinadhoo

Jumhoory Party (JP) MP Ibrahim Muthalib has accused Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) activists of attacking him while he arrived on Thinadhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll to meet the Atoll Council.

”When I arrived was this group of MDP activists, they followed me as I walked to towards the Atoll Council Office,” Muthalib said. ”I did not say anything or respond to them, but then they hit me in the eye and my spectacles fell to the ground and broke.”

Muthalib said he then turned back and walked towards his speedboat to leave the island, and again someone hit him in the mouth and stomach.

”I could not eat anything since last night, my jaw hurts,” he said. ”It is most inconvenient and it is most unacceptable.”

He said MDP activists had planned to attack him for a few days now.

”That is typical of MDP activists, they assault and have no democratic manners,” he said. ”Everyone has the freedom to travel from one place to another.”

The MDP Parliamentary Group’s former spokesperson MP Ahmed Shifaz told Minivan News that he regretted the incident.

”I will not say they were MDP or DRP activists, but it is regrettable,” Shifaz said. ”MDP does not encourage such actions.”

He said he “does not believe that MDP activists would do something like that.”


241 committee cancels confidential meeting with police and defense chiefs

Parliament’s ‘241’ security services oversight committee has canceled a confidential meeting that was to be held today, after summoning Police Commissioner Ahmed Faseeh and Chief of Defence Force Major General Moosa Ali Jaleel for questioning over their handling of the current political deadlock.

Commissioner Faseeh was to be summoned at 4:30pm and the Major Jaleel was to be summoned at 6:30pm, but the the committee concluded its meeting the moment it started.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Shifaz said that the committee meeting was cancelled on a request by MDP MPs.

“Because there are two MPs charged with criminal offences, we recommended the committee cancel the meetings,” said Shifaz. “It does not make much sense when two MPs accused of criminal offences summon the Police Commissioner and Chief of Defense in order to question them.”

Jumhooree Party (JP) MP Gasim Ibrahim and People’s Alliance (PA) MP Abdulla Yameen were charged last week for bribery and treason and are currently under house arrest while police investigate the matter.

Parliamentary regulations state that detained MPs must be released to attend parliamentary proceedings and committee hearings, and initial attempts by police to retain them in custody were overruled in the High Court last week.

As Gasim and Yameen are members of the opposition-led parliamentary committee, they can thus be temporarily freed to question their captors, who, according to article 98(a) of the Constitution, “must respond under oath truthfully to questions put to them and to produce documents, required by the People’s Majlis relating to the due performance of the obligations and responsibilities of such person.”

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ahmed Mahlouf said MDP MPs invaded the meeting and disrupted it.

“They first removed the board on the outside wall of the committee room,” said Mahloof. “Then they all went inside the room and disrupted the meeting.”

Mahlouf said that most of the MDP MPs who disrupted the meeting were not members of the committee.

A small gathering of MDP supporters gathered outside the parliament prior to the start of the the meeting.

Members of the committee include DRP MPs Ali Waheed and Yousuf Naeem, People’s Alliance (PA) MPs Abdulla Yameen and Moosa Zameer, Jumhooree Party MP Gasim Ibrahim, Independent MP Ibrahim Riza, and MDP MPs ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik, Alhan Fahmy and Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed.