Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim has sought to reassure coalition partners that former home minister Umar Naseer joining the party would not cause divisions within the opposition alliance.
“Relations in the coalition that the JP joined to bring the Maldives to the path of reform will not be affected because a particular individual joined JP or due to a member’s different thinking on a particular issue,” the business tycoon, who was convicted of attempted bribery and sentenced to jail last August, tweeted from exile in Germany.
“And the JP will not allow that to happen.”
After signing up to the JP last Thursday, Naseer declared he would shun any joint activities with the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party or exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.
He would also leave the JP if the party decides to back Nasheed or an MDP member as the coalition’s unity candidate, Naseer told the press.
Naseer, who announced his intention to contest the 2018 presidential election after quitting his cabinet post last year, said he would seek the JP’s ticket if Gasim is unable to return and challenge President Abdulla Yameen.
The JP played the role of “kingmaker” in the past two presidential races but he was joining to help make JP the ruling party. Naseer said voters want a third option after experiencing governments formed by the two main parties.
Naseer joining the JP drew heavy criticism from opposition supporters on social media, prompting MDP chairman Hassan Latheef to reassure members that Naseer would “not be let anywhere near MDP”.
— Mohamed Nasheed (@MohamedNasheed) December 18, 2017
Vaki farudhaku JP ah gulhumakun, adhi membaraku vaki kamehgai thafaathu visnumeh gengulheygothakun raajje islaahee magah genaumah JP baiverivefaivaa iththihaadhuge gulhumah buroo araigen nuvaane. Adhi JP in ekan viyakaves nudheynan.
— Qasim Ibrahim (@qasimibrahim) December 18, 2017