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MDP and JP announce national congress meetings

Leaders of the Maldivian Democratic Party and Jumhooree Party have been exchanging recriminations after disagreements about fielding a single candidate broke out into the open last week.



The allied opposition Maldivian Democratic Party and Jumhooree Party have announced dates for their respective national congress meetings in late June.

The MDP’s national council decided Thursday to hold an extraordinary congress on June 29 and 30. The agenda and venue are yet to be determined but the party is expected to elect leaders and discuss a new policy platform.

The JP’s executive committee meanwhile decided to bring forward its congress dates to June 21 and 22. According to secretary-general Ahmed Sameer, the congress will take place at the Paradise Island Resort owned by the party’s exiled leader Gasim Ibrahim.

Both parties are engaged in talks within the opposition coalition about fielding a unity candidate in September’s presidential election. Both MDP and JP’s exiled leaders remain barred from contesting due to prison terms.

The future of the opposition coalition was thrown into doubt last week after the MDP’s former chairman and three national council members joined the JP at a rally in Germany.

MDP and JP leaders exchanged recriminations following veiled criticism from Ali Waheed and exiled former vice president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed at the Frankfurt rally.

Opposition supporters are “in despair” over former president Mohamed Nasheed’s decision to contest the MDP presidential primary as the sole contender, JP deputy leader Ameen Ibrahim told newspaper Mihaaru.

The MDP primary, which was conducted nationwide Wednesday despite police disruption, was responsible for the perception that the coalition’s efforts to field a unity candidate has failed, said Ameen, who lives in exile in the UK.

But a special committee with representatives from the MDP, JP, Adhaalath Party and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is working on an agreement for the single candidate, he said.

“The committee’s majority will decide on one candidate. If we can’t follow the majority, the agreement formed between the four leaders have no meaning,” he was quoted as saying by the local daily.

Responding to the criticism, MDP chairman Hassan Latheef suggested that Ameen was unaware of the committee’s work, which involves two JP representatives.

MDP MP Fayyaz Ismail accused Ameen of wanting to have the cake and eat it too. “Poaching MDP [national council] members is fine. But coming out then and saying loss of trust is wrong. Let’s act more and speak less,” he tweeted.

Despite seeking their respective party tickets, Nasheed and Gasim meanwhile sought to assure opposition supporters that the coalition could still field a unity candidate.

In an interview with Mihaaru, Nasheed suggested that the JP candidate would become the coalition candidate’s running mate.

“God willing, we will field one candidate. And we will win the presidential election in one round as well,” Gasim tweeted.

Latheef previously told the Maldives Independent that the opposition parties “fully understand and respect the standards, values and boundaries of the other party” and have been cooperating for more than a year.