US invites Maldives delegation aboard USS John C Stennis aircraft carrier

Senior government officials were invited aboard a United States aircraft carrier on Wednesday (March 27) as it passed by the Maldives.

The visit was followed by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Maldives and the US government on Thursday to install a free border control system in the country.

Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb, Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim, Home Minister Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz and Vice President Mohamed Waheed Deen, were flown to the USS John C Stennis aircraft carrier as part of an arrangement between the US embassy and Maldives Defence Ministry.

The visit was documented by the ministers, who posted photographs on social media site Twitter.


JP MP Alhan Fahmy to initiate no-confidence vote against President and Vice President

Jumhoree Party (JP) MP Alhan Fahmy has said today that he is in discussions with MPs from other parties to submit a motion to take a no confidence vote against both President Mohamed Waheed Hassan and Vice President Mohamed Waheed Deen.

Fahmy was initially elected to parliament as an MP representing the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP). He then transferred to the Maldivain Democratic Party (MDP), before signing with JP earlier this year. He was elected as Vice President of MDP during his time in the party.

Fahmy told local media today that he was initiating this vote for two specific reasons:  the first being Waheed’s negative remarks about the Majlis in his last trip to Sri Lanka, and secondly, that in Fahmy’s view neither Waheed nor Deen were fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities.

“[Waheed] has said that MPs just stay home without doing any work. That we take our salary and yet are always on leave. Waheed cannot make a statement like that,” Fahmy told Haveeru.

“That is encroachment on the privileges of MPs. This is a very worrying matter. What is going to happen if while staying as the highest authority in the state, he treats the parliament like sh*t?” Fahmy was quoted as saying.

He furthermore stated that both Waheed and Waheed Deen had failed to perform up to the responsibilities of the post detailed in article 100(a) of the Constitution of the Maldives.

Article 100(a) states the Majlis can remove a President or Vice President on grounds of violating a tenet of Islam or the constitution, conduct unsuited to the office, or an inability to carry out the office’s duties.

Removal of both President and Vice President simultaneously would trigger constitutional clauses requiring the Speaker of the Majlis Abdulla Shahid to assume office and to organise elections within 60 days.

According to Fahmy, his initiative was getting support from the opposition MDP, and he specifically noted the work of the party’s Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik.

Fahmy said he is now in the process of drafting the motion, expressing confidence that he would be able to obtain signatures from 25 MPs to submit the motion as per the regulations.

According to article 100 (e) of the constitution, a no confidence vote can be passed with votes from two-thirds of the total numbers of MPs in parliament, which amounts to 52 votes.

The constitution also requires 14 days notice to be given before the matter is voted upon, as well as providing both the President and Vice President with the opportunity to defend themselves against their respective charges.

Meanwhile, President of Jumhoree Party Ibrahim Didi, who formerly served in the same position at MDP, expressed concern over Fahmy’s statement.

Didi told local media that being part of the coalition, JP would offer full support to the coalition government. He said Fahmy had made the statement of his own accord, and that the party had no knowledge of the matter.

However, Didi has said that the party has not yet decided if it would take action against Fahmy for speaking against the party’s stance.

During Wednesday’s parliament session, Fahmy also called for the resignation of the Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz and Minister of Home Affairs Dr Mohamed Jameel.

MDP Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik confirmed to Minivan News today that he supported Fahmy’s initiative to take the no-confidence vote.

“Since Alhan has taken the initiative, I will support him. I will do what needs to be done to bring the MDP Parliamentary Group on board,” Manik said.


No party members on Judgement Day: Vice President

Vice President Mohamed Waheed Deen has stated that political parties should refrain from breaking up unity among the people. He stated that all Maldivians belong to “one family” and should have a sense of kinship.

Speaking at the inauguration of the 5th Meeting of SAARC Ministers of Interior and Home, Waheed Deen said that Maldivians used to treat each other with respect and empathy, but that these traits were no longer present.

“We cannot even distinguish who among us are friends anymore. However, Judgement Day is a day in which we can no longer stay with members of our parties,” Waheed Deen said.

Waheed Deen stated that regardless of differences that could be seen at present, all humans come from the same roots. He noted that for this reason everyone needs to treat each other with mutual respect. Waheed Deen stated that politics and political ideologies were no reason to cause animosity between people.

Speaking about the objectives of the SAARC Home Ministers’ meeting, Waheed Deen stated that the main issues to be covered were the global concerns around internal and external security and safety.

The vice president expressed hope that discussions would be held, and solutions would be put forward for issues of high concern to the Maldives; including piracy, drug trafficking, human trafficking and terrorism.

Waheed Deen repeatedly stressed on the importance of mutual respect and unity, stating it would lead to faster national development.

SAARC Secretary General Ahmed Saleem and Minister of Home Affairs Mohamed Jameel Ahmed also spoke at the meeting today. The issues of numerous security risks in the region were highlighted in both speeches, along with the intention to discuss the matter further during today’s meeting.

The 5th Meeting of SAARC Ministers of Interior and Home is being held at Bandos Island Resort and Spa, owned by Vice President Waheed Deen.

Earlier this week, the Fifth Meeting of the SAARC Immigration Authorities was also conducted. Immigration Controller Mohamed Ali expressed concern over illegal immigration to Europe and money laundering through Maldives.


Vice-Presidential nominee Waheed Deen approved by Majlis

The People’s Majlis today approved the appointment of Vice President Mohamed Waheed Deen as well as 14 cabinet ministers nominated by President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan.

The Maldivian Democractic Party (MDP) chose to boycott the session en masse, although one of the group’s MPs, Shifag Mufeed, was in attendance and voted to approve the appointments.

Waheed was later sworn in as the Vice President at a ceremony held at the President’s office. Following the ceremony, Waheed and President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik met with the press.

The new Vice President observed that the Maldives is today witnessing the “politically most upsetting days” the country has ever seen and that he was honoured to have been selected to serve in the national reconciliation process.

“I have accepted the post because I want serve the nation and people. While I serve the people, there will be no discrimination between colors [political parties],” Waheed noted.

Speaking before today’s approval process, MDP spokesman Hamed Abdul Ghafoor said that the voting would determine those who were legitimising the coup and those who were not.

The appointees, requiring only a majority for parliamentary approval, received universal support from the quorum of 45 MPs. The MDP currently holds 32 out of the chamber’s 77 seats.

MDP parliamentary group (PG) leader Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Mohamed Solih told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday: “We continue to believe the transfer of power occurred through a coup d’état. We do not believe any cabinet Dr Waheed appoints to be lawful. Therefore we believe the sitting scheduled to approve such a cabinet is also an unlawful sitting.”

The MDP released a statement today, before the vote was held, calling on the speaker of the house Abdulla Shahid not to table the endorsements before changes were made to the Committee of National Inquiry (CNI) in line with recent calls from the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).

No Confidence

The MDP last week submitted a motion of no-confidence in the Speaker Shahid, arguing that he had been making decisions without adequately consulting all relevant parties and had been acting beyond his remit.

Speaking after an MDP protest march over the weekend that stopped for a time outside the speakers house to call for his resignation, former Tourism Minister Mariyam Zulfa explained the MDPs dissatisfaction with Shahid’s failure to take a leading role in calling for fresh elections.

“We have been very patient [with Shahid]. Now, instead of asking him for his leadership, we are asking him to resign,” said Zulfa.

Zulfa cited the example of the Speaker of Parliament in Mali who is currently in the process of organising fresh elections in the African nation.

The MDP has repeatedly challenged the legitimacy of Waheed’s presidency since he assumed office following the resignation of former President Mohamed Nasheed.

In the absence of an approved Vice President, the speaker of the house is constitutionaly mandated to act as next in line. This would then have automatically triggered a presidential elections within 60 days. After today’s approval, the Vice President becomes next in the line of succession, claimed Dr Waheed’s spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza.

President Waheed has stated that he would resign should an independent inquiry find February’s transfer of power to have been illegitimate.

Waheed’s CNI was established to do just that but has since come under fire from the MDP, the Commonwealth, and Maldivian civil society groups for its apparent lack of impartiality. The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) last week issued a strongly worded statement warning of serious repercussions should the government not reform the CNI by the middle of next month.

Crossing the party line

Shifag, the solo MDP representative in Majlis today, has already spoken out against the official party line this week according to local media, criticising the party’s calls for early elections in yesterday’s session.

He is reported to have said that an amendment to article 125 (c) of the constitution was needed. The article states that “Where fresh presidential elections have to be held for any reason during the currency of an ongoing presidential term, persons elected to the office of the President or the Vice President shall only continue in office for the remainder of the ongoing presidential term.”

Shifag was also reported to have criticised the failure of political parties to cooperate in order to resolve the current political crisis, including the MDP.

“Because the party Interim Chairperson Moosa Manik could not clarify the events of the day to us as told by President Nasheed from the first day, the public is in a state of confusion. Investigations have to be conducted into how the government changed… For example, Alhan Fahmy submitting a case to the Parliament Committee – this is one way to do it. But we turned our backs on that proposition. Our intentions are therefore questionable,” Sun Online reports Shifag as having told the Majlis.

MDP spokesman Hamed Abdul Ghafoor said today the Shifag “has not been towing the party line recently.”

Regarding Shifag’s votes in favour of the president’s appointees today, Ghafoor said: “There will be ramifications, you can’t break a three-line whip. The party will have to know why.”

Again, at today’s session, Shifag was reported by local media to have criticised his party. This time he questioned the failure of the MDP to conduct its own investigation into the events of February 7.

A coalition of Maldivian civil society groups working under the banner ‘Thinvana Adu’, meaning ‘Third Voice’, similary urged political groups in the country to continue dialogue “without preconditions”. The group also focussed on the need to make steps to legitimise the CNI.


MDP to boycott Majlis sitting to approve VP, cabinet nominees

Ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said it will boycott Wednesday’s Majlis sitting scheduled to approve President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s vice-president nominee and 14 member cabinet.

The MDP alleges President Waheed came to power through a coup d’état, and has called for fresh elections and an independent investigation into the transfer of power on February 7.

“We continue to believe the transfer of power occurred through a coup d’état. We do not believe any cabinet Dr Waheed appoints to be lawful. Therefore we believe the sitting scheduled to approve such a cabinet is also an unlawful sitting,” MDP parliamentary group (PG) leader Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Mohamed Solih told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.

The MDP had sent a letter requesting cabinet approval be postponed to a later date, but did not receive a reply, Ibu said.

MDP deputy PG leader Ali Waheed said the decision to boycott Wednesday’s sitting was “not defeat,” but a “courageous decision.”

He also said the Speaker could not schedule approval for the cabinet until an independent investigation into the transfer of power is complete.

President Waheed has set up a three member Committee of National Inquiry (CNI), but the commission has come under fire from international bodies such as the Commonwealth, the MDP and local civil society group for lack of independence.

MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik said the establishment of the CNI was proof that President Waheed himself questioned the legitimacy of his administration. Further, even if the cabinet nominees were approved, Waheed’s administration could not submit bills as Waheed’s Gaumee Ithihad (GI) does not have representation in the Majlis.

Article 71 of the parliamentary rules of procedure states the government can only submit bills, including tax bills, to the parliament through the party it represents.

The MDP also sought to obstruct Waheed from addressing parliament on March 1 and March 19. Waheed only managed to deliver a shortened version of the presidential address amidst loud heckling by MDP MPs in the Majlis chamber while MDP supporters and police clashed violently outside. During the speech an MP held up a placard declaring Waheed a ‘coup boss’.

Meanwhile, the MDP has also tabled a no-confidence motion against speaker Abdulla Shahid claiming the speaker follows the house rules at his discretion and does not seek advice from political parties when making major decisions.

In response, Shahid has said: “I was elected as Speaker through a parliamentary majority. Since then, I have upheld and in the future will continue to uphold the Constitution and laws of the Maldives and the Parliament’s regulations.”

The MDP commands 32 of the 77 seats in parliament.


‘Noon’ campaign targets VP’s business

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has continued its campaign against the businesses of those it alleges to be involved in financing a coup on February 7. Yesterday’s protests occurred outside the Shell Beans cafe, owned by the new Vice President Mohamed Waheed Deen and his family.

The group continued its ‘Noon’ campaign (meaning ‘no’ in Dhivehi), gathering outside the popular restaurant on Male’s northern harbour front.

Former Education Minister Shifa Mohamed said she was pleased with the protest, having forced the cafe to close at one point.

Shifa said “I don’t think [the staff] truly know what kind of order they are working for. We will protest until they know what these people have done. We will ask foreigners to boycott Shell Beans.”

The campaign was launched just under two weeks ago and has gathered 1900 supporters on its Facebook page. The boycott’s list of products to target includes Granini juice, Lavazza coffee, Red Bull energy drinks, Marlboro cigarettes and Lindt chocolate.

These products are imported to the Maldives by Euro Store. Shops under boycott include MP Saleem’s ‘Redwave’ grocery chain and MP Mahloof’s clothing store ‘The Jeans’.

Protestors also called for a boycott of Gasim Ibrahim’s Villa Gas and his airline Flyme. The campaigners alleged Gasim Ibrahim to be one of the main financiers of the coup.

Rasheed Carpentry and Construction Company, alleged to have ties to defense minister Ahmed Nazim, and PPM VP Umar Naseer’s security services Alarms and Whale Submarine tourist attraction are also included in the list.

After the protest the group from the MDP women’s wing, marched back towards the newly established demonstration area at Dharubaaruge. Shifa stated that the group will shortly be sending representatives to Thimarafushi and Kaashidhoo. Both constituencies are to hold by-elections in one week’s time.

The group also intends to engage in demonstrations tonight, focussing on the World Health Day theme. Shifa stated that she was particularly concerned with the recent discussions in parliament regarding the Aasandha health care scheme.

“We are very concerned. It is the only successful measure of redistribution [of wealth] that we have given to the people. They are trying to take it away,” Shifa argued.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed, addressing his followers at Dharubaaruge on Wednesday night, argued that the government was wasting state funds that could finance the scheme on promotions and bonuses for security forces personnel.

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) recently announced plans to promote 1000 officers, whilst the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) announced two years of allowances was to be paid to qualifying officers in a lump sum.

After financial problems with the scheme were discussed in the People’s Majlis this week, Financial Committee Chairperson and Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim described the current application of the scheme as a “hole in the pocket of the government” but vowed to reform the system, assuring that “Aasandha is here to stay.”


Robbery targets offices of senior politicians and Six Senses group

Police are investigating a robbery that yesterday targeted a building containing offices belonging to Vice-President designate Waheed Deen, luxury resort operator Six Senses, and the Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) Interim Chairperson Reeko Moosa Manik.

Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed that police teams were currently investigating the thefts at the offices, which are all based in the Jazeera Building on Boduthakurufaanu Magu in Male’. However, Haneef was unable to confirm what had been taken during the raids or if anyone had been hurt as a result, adding that it was “too early” to establish whether there was a political motive to the crimes.

According to the local media, a large sum of money is reported to have been taken from the office of Bandos Island Resort, owned by Waheed Deen, whilst significant damage was said to have been caused to the properties targeted during the alleged break in.

Local media reported that a sum of around Rf 1 million was taken from the Bandos office, whilst two safes at the Six Senses office said to contain Rf 200,000 (US$13,000) and US$5000, were also emptied during the raid. Six Senses operates several of the country’s more upmarket properties, including Soneva Fushi.

News agencies said that no money was believed to have been taken from the offices of Reeko Moosa Manik’s Heavy Load company. However, electronic equipment including computers and fax machines were reportedly destroyed as well as official documents, including staff passports.

The intruders also reportedly left several messages for Moosa Manik including, “Moosa, you may have escaped this time but you will be killed,” and “We will vote for you next time if you put some cash next time”.


Protesters call for boycott of “coup-financer’s businesses”

Hundreds of people marched in Malé on Monday calling for a boycott of businesses they claimed were owned by those responsible for financing the alleged coup d’état on February 7.

The march was organised by the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the NOON campaign (‘Noon’ means ‘no’ in Dhivehi). The campaign is the second boycott campaign targeting businessmen who support President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik.

UK-based NGO Friends of Maldives (FOM) has also revived a 2006 selective boycott of resorts.

Both campaigns primarily target resorts and businesses owned by local tycoon MP Gasim Ibrahim, and Vice-President nominee Mohamed Waheed Deen. The NOON campaign also calls for a boycott of the food importer Euro Store and businesses owned by Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) Vice President Umar Naseer, PPM MP Ahmed Mahloof, Defense Minister Ahmed Nazim and MP “Redwave” Ahmed Saleem.

“We have numbers, they have money. If we don’t buy from them, they won’t get the money,” said Shamau Shareef, a member of the NOON campaign. “We want to show this brutal regime and its business tycoons that we citizens are against the coup and police brutality in the Maldives.”

A Euro Store marketing official who identified himself as Fahmy said the boycott was “not based on truth or facts.”

“We don’t think Euro Store will be affected. Our sales have actually increased since all of this happened,” he added.

Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb said he was “saddened” by FOM’s “irresponsible” resort boycott. “How did they derive these conclusions? What proof do they have?” he asked.

Consumer Boycott

Hundreds of protesters, waving yellow MDP flags, set out on foot and on motorbikes from Raalhugandu (surf point) at 5:00 pm calling on the public to boycott restaurants, shops and businesses that belong to “coup- financers.”

Products under boycott include Granini juice, popular Lavazza coffee, Red Bull energy drinks, Marlboro cigarettes and Lindt chocolate. These products are imported to the Maldives by Euro Store. Shops under boycott include MP Saleem’s ‘Redwave’ grocery chain and MP Mahloof’s clothing store ‘The Jeans’.

Protestors also called for a boycott of Gasim Ibrahim’s Villa Gas and his airline Flyme. The campaigners alleged Gasim Ibrahim to be one of the main financiers of the coup.

Rasheed Carpentry and Construction Company, alleged to have ties to defense minister Ahmed Nazim, and PPM VP Umar Naseer’s security services Alarms and Whale Submarine tourist attraction are also included in the list.

“We have a long list of businesses, but we are still verifying most of them,” Shamau Shareef said. The campaign was only targeting businesses who have expressed outward support for the alleged coup d’état, Shamau said.

“For example the Euro Store supplied lavazza coffee and Red Bull to the 23 December alliance,” he claimed. The December 23 alliance is a group of political parties and NGOs that stood up against deposed President Mohamed Nasheed, claiming his administration was “irreligious”.

The NOON campaign had gathered over 1400 supporters within 24 hours of its launch on Facebook on Sunday. “It’s caught on very quickly. People support this campaign. If we can get mass public support, then we can be quite effective,” Shamau said.

The campaign intends to distribute leaflets on products under boycott to every household in Malé city, he added.

Responsible Traveler

The Friends of Maldives first called for a boycott of resorts owned and operated by supporters of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in 2006. The NGO relaunched the selective boycott under the name Maldives Travel Advisory in late February.

The NGO stressed the campaign was not a boycott of the Maldives, but rather a boycott of resorts “linked to individuals or groups who we suspect to be involved in the subversion of democracy and in human rights abuses in the Maldives.”

Resorts are classified into categories; “those we encourage you to visit, those under consideration and those which should be avoided.”

Seven resorts are currently on the avoid list; six belong to Gasim Ibrahim and one belongs to Mohamed Waheed Deen. Twelve resorts connected to businessmen Salah Shihab, Abdullah Jabir and Hussein “Champa” Afeef are under consideration.

“We also urge you to consider the idea of being a responsible traveler. Don’t let your pleasant holiday contribute to the suffering of others, whether it is to the Maldives or to any other place,” FOM said.

Ahmed Adeeb said he was “unsure” if the campaign would be effective as FOM is based in the UK, and because the UK market competes with the European and the Chinese markets. However, he said the government was working to counter FOM’s claims.

“From day one of my appointment, I have been trying to address cancellations,” he said. The UK and Germany issued travel advisories following the February 7 unrest, but revoked them in early March.


Waheed Deen nominated as Vice President

President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik has nominated philanthropist and owner of Bandos Island Resort Mohamed Waheed Deen as his Vice President.

Parliament approval is required to make the appointment official.

“I have looked around and decided that Deen is the best choice who can work with me closely,” Dr Waheed said. “There may be better qualified people but I want to work with someone close to me and with whom I have full confidence in. I delighted that Mr Deen has agreed to work with me.”

Deen said he had been educated at the state’s expense and that this was an opportunity for him to repay the favor to the nation.

“In 1969, at the age of 16, I was sentenced to jail on charges of a coup. That day I decided to show that I am not a conspirator to a coup. And [decided] to serve the nation,” he said.

He said that he would work sincerely to fulfill the duties tasked to him by President Waheed, and  support his efforts to develop the nation.

“My reason for accepting is that as a person who has been working all these years in different government posts, as well as a businessmen and human rights council member, it is time to serve the nation,” he said.

“When the nation is going in this direction – violence and destruction, innocent people losing their jobs – including Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). I do not want to see that. I want to see everybody treated equally. That is why I accept the post – because I believe the President [Waheed] and I have similar ideas, and that it is possible for me to work with him. As the President reiterated, we would like MDP to join the cabinet. I think there are great leaders among them. I hope to serve the nation and not a party.”

Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s party has challenged the legitimacy of the new government, following Nasheed’s resignation allegedly “under duress” on February 7.

Asked for his response to these allegations, Deen responded that it would be “very difficult to make decision [on the government’s legitimacy] 10 minutes after being nominated, as I am not yet the Vice President. I will be the Vice President when the Majlis (Parliament) accepts me, so that is a question I cannot answer.”

Dr Waheed said he would forward Deen’s name for a parliament vote tomorrow morning: “I hope parliament would approve him as the Vice President.”

The President said that he would work closely with the new VP, making a reference to Nasheed’s resignation  as a “bitter result” of not working like that.

Dr Waheed also said that he will support an independent investigation into the reasons surrounding the resignation of his predecessor, adding that he is awaiting legal advice on how to proceed from the newly-appointed Attorney General and opposition-linked lawyer Aishath Azima Shakoor.

During Wednesday’s press conference, Dr Waheed also announced that he was developing a “roadmap” that he would propose to all parties “towards reaching peaceful resolution of the issues we are facing today.”

Dr Waheed also reiterated his desire for the MDP to participate in the cabinet, stating that he was “willing to restructure the cabinet” to accommodate the MDP if required.

The MDP has so far refused to participate in a national unity government as proposed by Dr Waheed, challenging its legitimacy and observing that the majority of the new cabinet appointments are key supporters of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who ruled the country for 30 years. Only two of the new appointments (the tourism and and health portfolios) have previously undeclared political affiliations.

In today’s press conference Dr Waheed insisted that he had reserved the decision to nominate the Vice President himself, despite pressure from opposition parties.

Deen’s Background

Deen is well known for his philanthropic works and is praised as “the founding father of local government in the Maldives” for spearheading efforts to introduce local governance through elected councils, before resigning as Atolls Minister in August, 2008.

Following the council elections, Deen established The Institute of Local Governance and Development, a private initiative to support the decentralisation process and promote good governance by providing training programmes, consultation and information to councilors.

Deen continues to support various non government organisations.

Last year, Deen joined in line with several tourism magnates to endorse the Nasheed’s economic reform program criticised by the then-opposition.

The government’s economic reform programme was necessary because “we do not want to keep the gap between rich and poor in this country anymore,” Deen asserted.

“What is the main reason a country becomes impoverished?” he asked. “I believe that one of the main reasons is refusal to tell the people the truth by many successive governments, many kings, until we have come to this point.”

In the Maldives’ long history, Deen continued, the public were indoctrinated to not criticise the government and given to understand that “only a particular group, from a particular family, could rule.”

Deen speculated that “the biggest challenge” the government’s economic reform agenda would face will be “changing people’s mentality.”

“This is the biggest problem facing our country today: [one side says] ‘everything is going right’ [while the other says] ‘nothing is going right,’” he explained. “So we have to educate our people, especially the councils.”

Deen also cautioned against unprincipled opposition to the government: “We could stay angry, hateful and disapproving and say ‘go on, run the government’ but sadly – remember this well – any harm this government suffers, the people will suffer many times over.”

Meanwhile, leader of Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) Dr Hassan Saeed has been appointed as the Special Advisor to the President , a post he held during Nasheed’s administration before resigning on the 100th day.

Saeed was the former Attorney General during Gayoom’s administration, and was the first person to file complaints against Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed in 2005, the detention of whom led to protests and ultimately the dramatic events of last week.