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Coalition leaders to serve as senior advisors to President Solih

The four leaders met for the first time since September’s election victory.



The leaders of the four-party coalition met Thursday for the first time since joint opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s victory in September’s election.

The four leaders agreed to meet the president at least once a month “to discuss issues of national importance and offer advice,” president-elect Solih told the press.

The four leaders also finalised appointments to the cabinet, he added.

The veteran lawmaker will take the oath of office Saturday along with his vice president Faisal Naseem.

The four leaders were in jail or exile during the election campaign, Solih observed. But they did their part to maintain the coalition, he added.

“God willing, we have the opportunity today to work together in the same place going forward,” he said, expressing confidence in the former rivals staying united “despite differences of opinion.”

All four were jailed during the outgoing administration of President Abdulla Yameen. They were released by the courts in the wake of the incumbent’s heavy defeat.

Thursday’s huddle at the Hotel Jen in Malé was the first time they met in person since former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom joined forces with the opposition alliance in March last year.

Gayoom returned Wednesday night after a private visit to Malaysia.

After eight months in prison, the former strongman was released a week after the September 23 election. The High Court later overturned his conviction.

Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim returned to the Maldives last month after more than a year in exile. He was also released by the High Court, which went on to overturn his bribery conviction.

The Supreme Court meanwhile cleared the way for former president Mohamed Nasheed’s return on November 1 by suspending his 13-year jail sentence. Shortly after Nasheed’s return after three years in exile, the court also suspended Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla’s 11-year jail sentence.

The top court issued stayed orders pending a review of their controversial terrorism convictions.

At the press briefing, Gayoom thanked his supporters and family members who campaigned for the coalition candidate.

While the coalition leaders would offer advice, it will be the president who makes decisions, he stressed.

Former president Nasheed said the agreed upon cabinet will be comprised of ministers who enjoy the trust and confidence of President Solih.

“The cabinet will consist of individuals chosen by the president,” he said, adding that it would reflect the coalition that brought him to power.

Photo from Mihaaru