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MDP hits back at coalition ‘failure’ claims

The MDP is part of an opposition alliance which has talked about putting forward a unity candidate in this September’s polls as its leaders are in exile or behind bars.



The Maldivian Democratic Party Sunday hit back at claims that it will be responsible for the coalition’s failure in the presidential elections.

The MDP is part of an opposition alliance which has talked about putting forward a unity candidate in this September’s polls as its parties’ leaders are in exile or behind bars.

But the MDP has been criticised for having ex-president Mohamed Nasheed as the sole contender for its party primary.

The MDP ex-chair Ali Waheed said Friday the coalition could not move forward if people believed the Maldives depended on one person, an apparent swipe at the exiled former ruler.

“Tyranny, greediness, selfishness, stubbornness, and the belief that the Maldives will not move forwards without one person – we cannot progress with our coalition along these lines,” he told a Jumhooree Party rally in Frankfurt.

The JP would support and back a coalition candidate once the matter had been discussed and decided on by the four opposition leaders, he said.

“The assurance that I want to give MDP members is that if a coalition is not made for the presidential election, it would be because the MDP doesn’t want to. By God’s grace, the Jumhooree Party is ready to make this coalition. The JP won’t be the party to unravel this coalition,” he said in his speech.

Waheed, who was also the former deputy leader of the Maldives United Opposition, quit the MDP in 2016. JP leader Gasim Ibrahim, who fled to Germany after his bribery trial, was also at the event.

MDP chair Hassan Latheef told the Maldives Independent that Waheed did not know how the coalition worked.

“Ali Waheed joined JP (and this coalition) just yesterday,” he said. “He is new to this coalition and how it works. He might not understand how we do things, how we work together and how we maintain order.

He said that the four opposition parties “fully understand and respect the standards, values and boundaries of the other party” and have been cooperating for more than a year.

“Our committees are working together to field a single candidate. That is our goal.

“He (Waheed) has been away for some time, he is completely new to this current coalition,” said Latheef. “This is a whole new ball game. This is cricket. The rules in cricket are different to football.”

The MDP is also under fire from the Elections Commission for nominating Nasheed, who is convicted of controversial terrorism charges and ineligible to run.

Despite this obstacle, Nasheed has continued with his campaign through Skype calls and social media appearances.

Waheed also took aim at Nasheed’s online blitz, saying that Skyping with citizens while in exile had been described as a joke, but that he was happy the MDP was continuing with its campaign efforts.

This story has been corrected in the sixth paragraph.