Opposition announces shadow cabinet

Opposition announces shadow cabinet
June 01 16:32 2016

The newly launched Maldives United Opposition, a coalition of five rival groups, has announced a 19-member shadow cabinet comprised of senior opposition figures and former top officials of President Abdulla Yameen’s administration.

Former Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel was named its leader, and the chairperson of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, Ali Waheed, was named his deputy.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed, Adhaalath Party Leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, and former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim will serve as advisors.

The coalition was announced today in London, where key leaders are living in exile.

It pledged to work together to restore democracy and constitutional rule and to remove Yameen from power “through all legal and lawful mechanisms,” according to a formal agreement signed today.

The agreement calls for presidential elections “to be held in accordance with the constitution, in a free and fair manner, and openly monitored by the international community.”

Nasheed, who introduced the coalition, said: “I hope to work for Dr Jameel. I hope to garner support for him. I hope to see him in a transitional government before 2018.

“A transitional government that will create conditions for free and fair elections. A transitional government that will focus on reforming the judiciary, amending the constitution. A transitional government that will address justice issues and that will lead the country to a bright future.”

Other steps laid out in the agreement include establishing “a transparent system to monitor public finances and safeguard the national treasury,” protecting the rights of 1,700 opposition supporters facing prosecution, and ensuring the safety of MPs who have faced intimidation from the government.

The shadow cabinet is comprised as follows,

  • Abdulla Ameen (defence and national security)
  • Mohamed Shihab (finance and treasury)
  • Ahmed Thasmeen Ali (home affairs)
  • Ahmed Naseem (foreign affairs)
  • Adam Azim (trade and transport)
  • Mohamed Aslam (environment, clean energy, and waste management)
  • Hisaan Hussain (judicial reform)
  • Ahmed Nasheed (housing and infrastructure)
  • Shifa Mohamed (education)
  • Musthafa Luthfy (higher education)
  • Mohamed Shifaz (youth and sports)
  • Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari (Islamic affairs)
  • Hassan Latheef (civil rights)
  • Gais Naseer (local government and decentralisation)
  • Ibrahim Ameer (international financial agreements, fisheries, and agriculture)
  • Shidatha Shareef (health, gender, and social protection)
  • Mohamed Maleeh Jamal (resort and guesthouse tourism)
  • Ali Niyaz (elections commission and independent institutions reform)
  • Hussain Shameem (constitutional reform)

Abdulla Ameen was previously a minister at the president’s office. He resigned in July last year ahead of Jameel’s impeachment by the ruling party-dominated parliament.

Mohamed Maleeh Jamal, a cousin of the former vice president, was meanwhile sacked as minister of youth and sports in June 2015.

Adam Azim, former managing director of the State Trading Organisation, represents jailed former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim.

Independent MP Ahmed Mahloof was appointed as spokesman for the coalition.

With the exception of three Adhaalath Party representatives, and two former members of the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives, the rest of the shadow ministers are all senior members of the MDP, including former cabinet ministers, a vice presidential candidate, and Malé city’s mayor and deputy mayor.

Detained former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb was represented at today’s meeting by his wife, Fathmath Liusha, but does not have representatives on the shadow cabinet. His lawyer, Hussain Shameem, the former deputy prosecutor general, is heading the constitutional reform portfolio.