MDP primary candidate considers legal action over “unfair polls”

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) primary candidate in the Kendhoo constituency, Mauroof Zakir, has said he is considering seeking legal action over what he has deemed “unfair polls.”

Zakir competed against former Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) leader Thasmeen Ali, with the party on Saturday awarding the party ticket to Thasmeen after he won 391 votes to Zakir’s 199.

However, Zakir has called for a re-vote, alleging MDP members in Baa Atoll Kendhoo Island were not given the chance to vote.

The Kendhoo constituency consists of six islands – Kudarikil, Kamadhoo, Kendhoo, Kihadhoo, Dhonfanu,and Dharavandhoo. Polls were held for members in all six islands and constituency members residing in Malé on January 24.

However, polls in Malé were called off due to poor organisation and voter registry issues. Although polls were completed for the constituency in the six islands, the Kendhoo results were later invalidated after members asked for independent officials at the ballot box.

The MDP said that Zakir – who is also the head of MDP’s Kendhoo branch – had designated all officials at the ballot box.

The MDP sent independent officials to Kendhoo in an attempt to hold a re-vote, but members refused to allow the vote to proceed claiming the reason for invalidating the first polls was unacceptable. According to the MDP, Zakir’s supporters called for a re-vote in the entire constituency.

In the first poll held on Kendhoo, Zakir had received 204 votes and Thasmeen 15 votes .

Unable to proceed with voting on Kendhoo, the MDP decided to tally the results without the Kendhoo members’ votes.

“I am asking for a re-vote. It will be more fair and better for the party,” Zakir told Minivan News.

“I am considering seeking legal action through the court. But I also have to consider the fact that the MDP may lose the seat with an internal fight like this.”

MDP election committee member Ali Niyaz defended the party’s decision, claiming that even if polls are held on Kendhoo the vote will not affect the outcome.

Of the 260 members who are eligible to vote in Kendhoo, an estimated 100 had voted in Malé on January 31 when the MDP cancelled the Kendhoo vote, he said.

Even if all the remaining 160 members voted for Zakir, the overall result will not change, as there is currently a difference of 192 votes between Thasmeen and Zakir, Niyaz said.

“Also, we are on an extremely tight deadline. We have to submit all documents to the Elections Commission before February 11.”

Zakir has questioned the figures given by Niyaz, suggesting that a re-vote could indeed affect the outcome of the poll.

The MDP is, however, considering a re-vote in Addu Atoll Feydhoo constituency after it emerged voting had proceeded on an outdated eligible voters list.

Incumbent MP Alhan Fahmy lost the party ticket to Mohamed Nihad, who won 36 percent of the vote (316 votes). Alhan came third and with 18 percent of the vote (154 votes), and had said he would not accept the results, calling for a fresh vote.

Niyaz confirmed the list for the Feydhoo constituency did not list 67 new members. The MDP has not yet come to a decision on holding a re-vote, he said.

Alhan was stabbed on Saturday and is currently undergoing treatment in Sri Lanka.

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PPM member asks Supreme Court to remove DRP leader from parliament

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) council member and prominent lawyer Mohamed ‘Wadde’ Waheed has filed a case at the Supreme Court requesting the court disqualify Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Leader and MP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali from parliament.

Wadde yesterday told local media that Thasmeen took a MVR2.9million (US$188,067) loan from Parliament Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim and did not pay the money back in accordance with a Civil Court ruling.

Nazim filed a case at the Civil Court in 2011 to recover MVR1.9million (US$124,513) unpaid out of the MVR2.9 Million (US$188,067) Thasmeen took from him as a loan.

Article 73(c) of the constitution states: “A person shall be disqualified from election as, a member of the People’s Majlis, or a member of the People’s Majlis immediately becomes disqualified, if he has a decreed debt which is not being paid as provided in the judgment.”

Wadde said that, although Thasmeen had now paid all the money, he did not pay according to the Civil Court ruling, which required the repayment of MVR320,000 (US$20,779) each month for six consecutive months to clear the debt.

The Civil Court ruling came in April 2011, with Thasmeen unsuccessfully appealing the case at the High Court the same month.

In June 2012, Nazim filed another case at the Civil Court because Thasmeen was not paying as per the Civil Court resulting in the court issuing a warrant freezing all the bank accounts of Thasmeen and ordering the Immigration Department to hold Thasmeen’s passport.

Lawyer Wadde was chosen to contest the Kaashidhoo parliamentary by-election for the PPM in March 2012, before the party decided to support now-MDP MP Abdulla Jabir – then a member of the Jumhooree Party – prompting public criticism from Wadde.

The lawyer was also at odds with his party’s senior leadership last month after filing a case in the Supreme Court challenging opposition MDP candidate and former President Mohamed Nasheed’s candidacy.

In October Wadde also submitted a case to the Supreme Court seeking a ruling against the motion passed by parliament to appoint Speaker Abdulla Shahid as interim head of state in the instance that an elected president cannot be installed by the constitutionally mandated date, November 11.

The same day, Wadde also submitted another case to the court asking it to rule that the MDP MP Ahmed Hamza’s appointment to the judicial watchdog – the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) – was conducted in breach of the constitution.

Last night, the MDP issued a statement condemning the filing of the case against Thasmeen, alleging that the PPM was trying to undermine the constitution through the Supreme Court.

The party called upon the PPM to stop all of its works against the spirit of democracy.

The MDP said the PPM was using the Supreme Court to defeat political opponents because is understood that it had been defeated in the political field.

The Supreme Court ruled on October 24 that both MDP MP Ali Azim DRP MP Mohamed Nashiz be stripped of their parliamentary seats over decreed debt. The ruling was subsequently rejected by the Parliamentary Privileges Committee, with scuffles ensuing between the military and MPs at the subsequent Majlis session.

The current MDP and DRP alignment constitutes a simple majority in parliament.

The party also said that the citizens would not allow the PPM to use courts under the influence of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to deprive the MDP of its majority in parliament.

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PPM manifesto released to criticism over economic plans

President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s running mate Ahmed Thasmeen Ali has said the Progressive Party of Maldives’ (PPM) “concerning” proposal to slash the state budget by MVR 4 billion ($259.9 million) lacks critical detail.

PPM released its three-part manifesto on Tuesday (September 3) – just four days before the presidential election.

Cautioning that such a large reduction required careful adjustments, Thasmeen said that the proposed cut would have a negative impact on development projects and subsidies, reported Haveeru.

Thasmeen added that minimizing waste and promoting operational efficiency in the government would not yield sufficient funds.

His critique echoed concerns voiced by other MPs, including PPM presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen, over last year’s budget cutbacks.

Yameen has promoted himself as being strong on economic policy, with posters across Male’ touting him as the electorate’s best choice for an economic recovery.

Budget cutbacks attracted sharp responses from political parties in December 2012, after Parliament’s Budgetary Review Committee reduced the state budget by MVR2.4 million ($1.5 million).

Government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Deputy Leader and MP Abdullah Mausoom tweeted at the time that the cutbacks were “a deliberate attempt by MDP and PPM to ‘choke’ government and institutions by 2013”.

Yameen – then PPM’s Parliamentary Group Leader and a member of the review committee – observed that, based on the proposed budget cuts, the government’s policies were unclear.

Minivan News was unable to obtain comments from PPM spokespersons at time of press.

PPM Manifesto

The PPM’s ambitious proposals target legislation, administration and infrastructure in multiple areas. The party’s plans include a youth, a sports, and a ‘Yageen’ manifesto – the latter derived from the party’s campaign slogan ‘Yameen Yageen’, or ‘Yameen for Sure’.

The ‘Yageen’  manifesto outlines programmes targeting health, fisheries, decentralization, women’s rights, national security, agriculture, transport and tourism.

According the sports manifesto, athletic programs would receive new facilities and equipment, complemented by legislation to develop young talent. Sports administration would be facilitated by a Sports Act and a Maldives Sports PLC in partnership with all national sports associations, which would draft agreements to pay professional players.

The manifesto also states that all islands would receive a sports arena and Hulhumale’ would be developed as a youth entertainment city, including a National Aquatic Centre of olympic scale. Taxes on sports materials would be reduced from 25 to 5 percent.

According to the ‘Yageen’ manifesto, policies on education would expand teaching of the Quran and arabic language throughout the curriculum, and offer both expanded vocational and higher education opportunities. Educational centers would benefit from teacher training, expanded space, improved counseling services, and “modern libraries” equipped with digital facilities.

On the subject of women’s rights, the manifesto proposes subsidized childcare system, allowing women to work from home through the internet, and connecting them to employers. Gender quotas in the political arena and leadership skills courses for girls are also included, intended to equalize the workplace gender balance.

Other proposals include reviewing national legislation on women, particularly in the areas of marriage and divorce, property, and crime.

To build connectivity within and between atolls, the PPM “ensures” that every island will have access to air transport through regional airports, to be complemented by a ferry network. The party states that, in addition to expanding the services of Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) and Island Aviation, it will invite private companies to operate transport facilities.

The manifesto did not detail budgetary provisions for these proposals.

Download the manifestos in Dhivehi.

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GIP-DRP-Adhaalath coalition to hold rally, music show

President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s coalition for the September 7 presidential elections has announced  it will be holding multiple events targeting youth this Saturday night, to launch the first of its pledges and policies.

According to a press conference held today, part of the coalition’s youth policy will be revealed during tonight’s event.

Waheed’s Gaumee Ihthihaadh (GIP) has formed a coalition with Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) and the religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) to contest the elections, campaigning under the slogan “Forward with the nation”.

Speaking at a press conference held on Saturday, DRP Youth Branch President Mohamed Jaushan Shareef stated that the coalition’s policy launch will begin with a meeting in the STELCO building on Saturday night.

He stated that President Waheed and his running mate, DRP Leader Thasmeen Ali, will head a rally down Ameenee Magu after the conclusion of the meeting.

“This rally is not exclusively for youth. We invite everyone, the young and the old, to join this rally. We are coming out with youth in order to go forward with the nation. We believe that this can be achieved by the support of the general public, in addition to the youth,” Shareef said.

GIP member, State Minister of Tourism Ahmed Shameem, added that other activities planned for tonight by the coalition include a music show at the Alimas Carnival, and a barbeque organised by youth members of the coalition.

According to Shameem, various musicians, including local ‘boduberu’ groups will perform at tonight’s coalition event.

He further stated that Waheed and Thasmeen will be participating in all of tonight’s campaign events.

Meanwhile, religious conservative Adhaalath Party representative Hussain Wafeer said the party’s involvement is only with the policy launch, distancing itself from the other events.

The Adhaalath Party has previously spoken against mixed-gender gatherings, music and dancing.

“The youth policy launch will be carried out at STELCO. All these other events, like music show and barbecue, are another matter completely,” Wafeer said.

When asked about the party’s official stand on the music show events being carried out under the name of a coalition they are a part of, Wafeer said that he will confirm with party leaders as to their stand on the matter.

Minivan News was later unable to contact him.

Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla, Deputy President Dr Mauroof Hussain and Islamic Minister Sheikh Shaheem Ali Saeed were not responding to calls at the time of press.

In April 2012, the Adhaalath Party called on the Education Ministry to cancel the inter-school singing competition, claiming that music and singing is ‘haram’ [prohibited in Islam].

In September 2012, the Islamic Minister, the party’s senior member Sheikh Shaheem Ali Saeed, sent a circular to all government institutions banning the holding of any mixed gender dance events.

Shaheem said at the time that the directive was targeted for both the government and individual citizens.

The Ministry said then that the acceptable form of music, which falls within the boundaries of Islamic customs and disciplinary norms is limited to the folk dance ‘Thaara’.

‘Thaara’, dhivehi for ‘tambourine’ is a folk dance where performers sit in parallel rows, singing and dancing. This is performed specifically by men. The traditional songs sung during ‘Thaara’ are mostly in Arabic and the activity itself is said to have entered Maldivian culture through Arab influence.

GIP Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza was not responding to calls at the time of press.

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Former MDP MP Musthafa to ask Supreme Court to declare DRP Leader Thasmeen’s seat vacant

Former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mohamed Musthafa has said he is filing a case in the Supreme Court requesting the apex court declare the seat of Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali vacant, over unpaid debts.

Musthafa contends Thasmeen – recently appointed President Mohamed Waheed’s running mate ahead of September’s election – had not paid loans he took from Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Nazim or those taken from the Bank of Maldives in the name of a company of which he is a shareholder.

Musthafa himself was disqualified from the parliament in 2012 over an unpaid decreed debt, which the court concluded had rendered him constitutionally ineligible to remain in the seat.

As a consequence, Mustafa said that there was precedent for the court to declare Thasmeen’s Kendhoo Constituency seat vacant.

On June 17, the Civil Court ordered all Thasmeen’s bank accounts of frozen, and ordered immigration to withhold his passport following a case filed by Deputy Speaker Nazim to recover a debt of MVR 1.92 million (US$124,513).

Nazim filed the case requesting enforcement of a Civil Court verdict in April 2011 – upheld by the High Court in April 2013 – ordering the vice presidential candidate to pay back the money.

MP Nazim, of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), initially sued Thasmeen in March 2011 to recover the remainder of a loan worth MVR 2.55 million (US$200,000). After the Civil Court ruled in favour of Nazim, Thasmeen appealed the judgment at the High Court in June 2011.

In October 2011, the High Court upheld Civil Court verdicts ordering Mahandhoo Investments and Kabalifaru Investments – two companies with ties to Thasmeen – to repay millions of dollars worth of loans to the Bank of Maldives Plc Ltd (BML).

In the first case involving Mahandhoo Investments, BML issued a US$23.5 million demand loan, a US$103,200 bank guarantee and US$30,090 letter of credit on July 10, 2008.

The second case involved a US$3.3 million loan issued to Kabaalifaru Investment. The appeal of a Civil Court verdict on September 30, 2009 ordered the company to settle the debt within 12 months.

Meanwhile, a third case involving a Civil Court verdict in December 2009 ordered luxury yachting company Sultans of the Seas – with close ties to the DRP leader – to pay over US$50 million in unpaid loans, including incurred interest and fines, was appealed at the High Court.

In September 2009, Maldives Customs filed a case at Civil Court to recover US$8.5 million from Sultans of the Seas in unpaid duties and fines for allegedly defrauding customs to import two luxury yachts, and in February 2010 the court ordered the company to pay MVR 110 million (US$7 million) as fines and unpaid import duties.

Precedent

In July 2009, then-PPM Vice President Umar Naseer filed a case against Musthafa shortly after the MP won the election for Thimarafushi constituency against former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s son, Gassan Maumoon.

Umar Naseer contended that Musthafa not repaid a loan of US$31,231.66 (MVR 481,952) borrowed from the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) according to the court order and therefore must be removed from parliament for the violation of article 73(c)1.

According to the article 73(c)1 of the constitution, “a person shall be disqualified from election as, a member of the People’s Majlis, or a member of the People’s Majlis immediately becomes disqualified, if he has a decreed debt which is not being paid as provided in the judgment.”

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JP Legal Committee member files Supreme Court case to cancel seats of DRP MPs Nashiz and Azim

The Jumhoree Party’s Police and Legal Committee member Mohamed Haleem Ali has filed a case at the Supreme Court asking it to rule Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MPs Ali Azim and Mohamed Nashiz unfit to stay in their elected seats following the Bank of Maldives’ foreclosure on their loans.

“The civil court’s ruling number 935 of 2009 asks them to pay back the debts to BML. They didn’t. So I have submitted this case in accordance with subclause one of Article 73(c) and 74 of the constitution,” Haleem stated.

Subclause 1 of Article 73 of the Constitution of the Maldives states that a candidate for membership or a sitting member of the parliament would be disqualified if he has a decreed debt which is not being paid as per court rulings.

Article 74 states that any question concerning the qualifications or removal of a member of the People’s Majlis shall be determined by the Supreme Court.

MPs Nashiz and Azim have been in parliament since the 2009 election, the same year in which the civil court order them to pay the BML debts.

Asked why Haleem was submitting the case nearly three years into the debt case, after the Civil Court had Thursday ruled BML could sell the mortgaged property in lieu of payment by the guarantors, he replied: “Their seats would have been lost after the first month’s failure to pay as per the court order anyway. They are only able to sit in there because the Supreme Court has so far not ruled on the matter.”

The Supreme Court has confirmed that the case submission has been registered at the court. However, a court official said that the court has not yet made a decision on whether or not to accept the case.

JP concerned Haleem acted without consulting party

JP Spokesperson Moosa Rameez said the party had no role in filing the case against the DRP MPs.

“In fact, we are very concerned that Haleem submitted the case without any consultation whatsoever with the party. He’s not an ordinary member of the party, he sits on one of our committees. He ought to have discussed this within the party first. We only learned about it when it was covered in local media,” Rameez said.

Haleem responded saying that he had submitted the case in his personal capacity, and that he felt no need to consult with the party on personal decisions.

“As a party, JP would never wish loss or harm on anyone. I have no comment on the party’s position. However, I did this as an individual, for the betterment of the society. I am a lawyer by profession and felt it was time to take the initiative to bring this to the Supreme Court’s attention,” Haleem stated.

All parties are picking on us as we are the most popular party: DRP

DRP MP Abdulla Mausoom declined from commenting on the case in court, stating that everyone has the right to submit cases to courts, and to defend themselves in whatever way possible.

“I do know, however, that all parties are picking on DRP now. This is because DRP is currently the most promising party for the 2013 elections. Everyone from MDP [Maldivian Democratic Party], PPM [Progressive Party of Maldives] to all the presidential candidates are feeling threatened by DRP due to our popularity,” Mausoom added.

MP Azim has previously alleged that the case of BML debts being scheduled to coincide with the voting on secret balloting during no confidence motions is politically motivated. Azim further alleged that President Mohamed Waheed had tried to intimidate him, asking him to vote in a particular way, offering to cancel the court hearings in return.

Azim had been promptly summoned back to court after he subsequently voted in favour of secret balloting.

DRP Leader Thasmeen Ali declined from commenting on these allegations, stating that he had “not yet discussed the matter in detail” with Azim.

“Now it’s the Supreme Court that will come to a decision on the parliament seat. I believe the court will rule on this in the correct manner in which it should be done,” Thasmeen stated.

Minivan News tried contacting DRP MPs Mohamed Nashiz and Ali Azim. Nashiz was not responding to calls while Azim’s phone was switched off.

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DRP leader anticipates divergences of opinion within governing coalition

Leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Ahmed Thasmeen Ali yesterday said that he expected to see divergences appear within the government’s seven party coalition, local newspaper Haveeru has reported.

Speaking at the opening of the DRP’s new headquarters, Thasmeen said that he expected all parties to field separate candidates in the next presidential elections.

“We believe that different candidates would represent the various political parties of the coalition government in the election. However, we must all agree to sustain the current government till 2013 to ensure that the people are provided with the fundamental services and benefits from a government,” Thasmeen told Haveeru.

Minivan News was unable to reach either Thasmeen or his deputy leaders Ibrahim Shareef or Dr Abdulla Mausoom for comment.

Thasmeen argued that the coalition was formed in an abrupt manner and so differences of opinion were likely to emerge.

Thasmeen’s comments also made mention of the DRP’s motivations for joining the governing coalition. The DRP leader said the main reason the party joined the government was to ensure the protection of services to the public.

“If the functioning of the government was compromised at a time when the provision of services to the people had already been hindered and the system was facing major challenges, the people would be plunged into an increasingly dire situation,” Thasmeen is quoted as saying.

Deputy Leader of the DRP, Ibrahim Shareef previously told Minivan News that the provision of public service was one of the party’s core values which were not to be compromised, even if this meant going against the rest of the coalition.

Thasmeen also took the opportunity yesterday to reassert his party’s opposition to proposals made in the Majlis’s Financial Committee to reform the the Aasandha healthcare scheme which is set to vastly exceed its budget in 2012.

The Financial Committee is currently dominated by parties aligned to the government.

When asked by Minivan News if there were any policies other than opposition to the previous Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) that united the ruling coalition, President’s Office spokesman Abbas Adil Riza said he had no comment to make.

Thasmeen last week spoke out against the bill proposed by the MPs Ahmed Ilham of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Riyaz Rasheed of the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) to withdraw the Maldives from the Commonwealth.

Thasmeen was reported as being disappointed that the coalition had not been properly consulted before the bill had been submitted and promised “categorically” that his party would not support the bill.

At that time, Abbas said that he was happy that the coalition was strong: “It shows that even on issues on which we disagree, we can work together. That’s what being in a coalition is all about.”

Additionally, Thasmeen said that, within the coalition, it was only his party and the DQP that had specifically pledged to work with one another.

“We have an agreement with Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) that we would function jointly. However, the rest of the political parties in the government do not have such an agreement to work together,” Haveeru reports.

DQP leader Dr Hassan Saeed was not responding at time of press.

The governing coalition currently controls 45 of 77 seats in the People’s Majlis, 15 of which belong to the DRP. The remainder are held by the MDP.

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DRP’s Thasmeen to launch new TV station

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali is set to launch a new television channel in the Maldives designed to produce political and religious programming as well as news and entertainment shows.
Haveeru has reported that Thasmeen, along with fellow share holder, DRP member and Deputy Home Mnister Mohamed Saleem, were given a license by the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) yesterday to launch the station, currently known as “TV-5”.
Deputy Economic Minister Shiham Waheed, DRP member Hussain Mohamed and  Mohamed Nasru will serve as directors of the new channel, according to local media.
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Maldivian NGOs call for “immediate changes” to inquiry commission

Four NGOs working under the banner ‘Thinvana Adu’ (Third Voice) have urged President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan to “bring immediate changes to the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) so that it gains public trust and confidence and is able to achieve its objectives.”

Transparency Maldives, Maldivian Democracy Network, Democracy House, and the Maldives NGO Federation, itself representing 59 organisations, joined forces to declare that they are “deeply concerned by the recent political polarisations in the society.”

The CNI came under fire last week from the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) which released a statement giving the government four weeks to reform the body established to investigate the February 7 change of power lest CMAG consider “further and stronger measures”.

“The group was of the view that the Commission of National Inquiry, established to assess the events leading to the transfer of power on 7 February 2012, is not independent or impartial, and has failed to gain sufficient support in Maldives,” read the CMAG statement.

“What we see in the Maldives today is confrontation instead of political dialogue. Because of this political turmoil is increasing in the country,” said Aiman Rasheed, representing Transparency Maldives.

“Thinava Adu believes the citizens must know what happened. Citizens must know the truth. Maldives will find it difficult to take steps forward unless we know the answers. If the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI) remains the same as it is today, we believe the inquiry cannot proceed in a way that citizens can trust or accept,” he continued.

Thinvada Adu said that they had previously written to the President on February 29 regarding the CNI as well as meeting with him on March 7. In both instances, the concerns of the group were expressed to the President. These concerns were said to have been “well received” without anything being “translated into action.”

In a press conference this morning, Ahmed Nizam of the Maldivian NGO Federation said, “Political opinion has become divided into two main thoughts since the change of power on February 7 and consequent events. Hence, we believe a third voice is very important in coming to a resolution.”

Reaction to CMAG criticism

Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, leader of the coalition government’s Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), responded to the CMAG report by saying that the group had based their report on incomplete information.

President’s Office spokesman Abbas Adil Riza last week said that the government did not understand CMAG’s criticisms and was requesting clarification over the required changes.

In response, the NGOs amended their CNI recommendations to include the following:

  • Members of the CNI must be persons of integrity and should be nominated from groups such as the Human Rights Commissions (MHRC), the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the Police Integrity Commission (PIC), the Election Commission (EC), under the guidance of the Prosecutor General’s Office.
  • The mandate and scope of the CNI must be decided by agreement across the political divide.
  • The CNI must pool technical assistance for the international community to both expedite and give credence to the process.
  • There must be opportunity for observation of the process by international actors.
  • The CNI’s finding must be shared with the Parliament and independent state institutions as well as to the public.
  • The state and its institutions must cooperate and make sufficient resources available to the CNI.

All-Party talks

Thinvana Adu also focused on the importance of continued dialogue between political parties “without preconditions”. It was argued that, in order to resolve the current crisis, all parties must be permitted to join the discussions which must be attended by key decision makers.

The India-brokered all party talks have failed to build up momentum due to squabbles over the group’s composition and agenda. The MDP boycotted the first meeting on February 20, complaining that some of the parties represented had no democratic mandate, referring to representatives of former President Gayoom’s Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) who at the time of the first meeting had no official representation in the Majlis.

Any MP having switched allegiance to the PPM after its formation in October 2011 was technically classed as an ‘independent’ according to parliamentary regulations. The PPM has since won its first official seat in the Majlis with Ahmed Shareef, formerly Secretary General of the Elections Commission, winning the Thimarafushi by-election on April 14.

The MDP was present at the second round of talks, at which a tentative agenda was defined without specific prioritisation, before the PPM and Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) walked away from the meetings following the MDPs refusal to allow the Majlis’s opening session to commence on March 1.

After the eventual opening of the Majlis on March 19, the talks did resume but the latest round, again, made no progress, this time the MDP calling for the inclusion of all registered parties. Today’s Thinvada Adu statement appears to be taking a similar line.

The group of NGOs also criticised the availability of the talk’s convener Ahmed Mujthaba whose absence from the country has delayed the talks on more than one occasion. Explaining his absence after the last session, Mujthaba told local paper Haveeru, “I did not plan my life with the knowledge of the events of February 7”.

Mujthaba had not responded at time of press.

The group also stated that decisions on early elections should be decided through “participatory, transparent, political processes, via discussions amongst political parties.” Aiman Rasheed of Transparency Maldives added that this entailed any decision between parties that did not contravene the existing legal or constitutional framework.

Regarding the long term recommendations of the group, it urged legislation to enable independent commissions of inquiry to function effectively. It urged state institutions to show greater leadership and commitment to responding to the current crisis.

The group also repeated calls for the support of the international actors in the “process of democratic consolidation”.

“It is a concern that in the absence of such guidance it will be a challenge to the national institutions to nurture the infant democracy of the Maldives,” the group said.

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