President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih appointed Monday former foreign minister Ahmed Naseem as a minister at the president’s office.
He becomes the second minister at the president’s office along with Ali Shiyam, deputy chairman of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party. Along with chief of staff Ali Zahir, deputy leader of the Adhaalath Party, all three appointments were made at the minister’s level.
Naseem, who served as foreign minister in former president Mohamed Nasheed’s cabinet, lived in exile during the previous administration. He was part of several joint opposition delegations that lobbied Western powers to sanction President Abdulla Yameen over the jailing of political opponents.
With 19 ministers in addition to the Attorney General and two president’s office ministers, Solih’s cabinet is the largest in Maldivian history, counting five more ministries than Yameen’s administration.
But the wage bill would be 19 percent lower with 100 fewer political appointees, according to his spokeswoman.
Solih, the MDP’s former parliament leader, contested the election as the candidate of a four-party coalition, along with a Jumhooree Party running mate.
The cabinet was divided among the parties with 40 percent for the MDP, 25 percent for the JP, 20 percent for former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and 15 percent for the Adhaalath Party.