President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih appointed Saturday night his cabinet comprised of members from the four coalition parties.
Some appointments drew criticism on social media over their qualifications, allegations of corruption and potential conflicts of interest.
With 19 ministers in addition to the Attorney General, Solih’s cabinet is also the largest in Maldivian history, counting five more ministries than former president Abdulla Yameen’s administration. But the wage bill would be 19 percent lower with 100 fewer political appointees, according to his spokeswoman.
Solih, the Maldivian Democratic Party’s former parliament leader, contested the election as the candidate of the four-party coalition, along with a Jumhooree Party running mate.
The appointment that drew the most criticism was Aishath Nahula, the wife of JP leader Gasim Ibrahim, as minister of transport and civil aviation, and JP president Ali Waheed as minister of tourism.
Questions were raised over conflicts of interest as Gasim’s Villa empire operates several resorts and an airline. Abdulla Ameen and Mohamed Maleeh Jamal from the JP were also ministers under former president Yameen.
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.
Four MDP MPs resigned to take up ministerial positions, including Abdulla Shahid, Fayyaz Ismail, Ahmed Mahloof and Mariya Ahmed Didi as the country’s first female defence minister.
Former president Gayoom’s daughter, Yumna Maumoon, took the newly-created portfolio for culture, heritage and arts. She had resigned as director of heritage in 2016 in protest against the relocation of an 18th century coral stone mosque in Malé.
Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla was appointed home minister in his first ministerial post. The president also chose Ali Zahir, the AP’s deputy leader, as his chief of staff.
Seven secretaries at the president’s office were appointed at deputy minister level.
The oath of office to the new ministers was administered by Chief Justice Dr Ahmed Abdulla Didi.
1. Minister of Foreign Affairs – Abdullah Shahid
2. Minister of Defence – Mariya Ahmed Didi
3. Minister of Home Affairs – Sheikh Imran Abdulla
4. Minister of Finance – Ibrahim Ameer
5. Minister of National Planning and Infrastructure – Mohamed Aslam
6. Minister of Higher Education – Dr Ibrahim Hassan
7. Minister of Communication, Science and Technology – Mohamed Maleeh Jamal
8. Minister of Health – Abdulla Ameen
9. Minister of Education – Dr Aishath Ali
10. Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation – Aishath Nahula
11. Minister of Arts Culture and Heritage – Yumna Maumoon
12. Minister of Tourism – Ali Waheed
13. Minister of Economic Development – Fayyaz Ismail
14. Minister of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture – Zaha Waheed
15. Minister Islamic Affairs – Dr Ahmed Zahir
16. Minister of Housing and Urban Development– Aminath Athifa
17. Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment – Ahmed Mahloof
18. Minister of Gender, Family and Social Services – Sidhatha Shareef
19. Minister of Environment – Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan
20. Attorney General – Ibrahim Riffath