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Opposition in disarray after JP announces shadow cabinet

The Adhaalath Party and former president Gayoom’s aides denied any agreement to back a JP-led coalition in September’s presidential election.



The opposition coalition appears on the verge of collapse after the Jumhooree Party unveiled a shadow cabinet without the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party.

Shortly after JP’s exiled leader Gasim Ibrahim announced his 20-member cabinet in a Facebook live video Tuesday, the Adhaalath Party and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s aides denied any agreement to back a JP-led coalition in September’s presidential election.

There was no consultation before Adhaalath Party leaders and Gayoom’s daughters were named in the JP cabinet, they declared.

JP deputy leader Abdulla Kamaludeen, who was assigned the labour ministry portfolio, was also caught by surprise. “I’m not someone who likes to accept posts that I am given or am about to be given without being asked,” he tweeted.

Independent MP Ahmed Mahloof, the opposition spokesman, expressed puzzlement as MDP MPs and supporters criticised the coalition partner.

The announcement followed bickering between MDP and JP over fielding a single candidate. Both Gasim and former president Mohamed Nasheed – who secured the MDP’s ticket in an uncontested primary last month – are barred from contesting due to controversial prison sentences.

Gasim assured in his message that the JP would back a unity candidate if coalition partners are able to reach an agreement.

Applications for candidacy papers open on July 15.

Acknowledging the lack of consultation, Gasim said the shadow cabinet consists of individuals likely to accept posts in a JP-led government.

Former vice president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed – President Abdulla Yameen’s running mate in 2013 – was Gasim’s choice for his vice president. Gayoom’s lawmaker son, Faris Maumoon, would be made speaker of parliament and JP MP Ali Hussain the deputy speaker.

The JP’s national congress is meanwhile due to begin Thursday at Gasim’s Paradise Island Resort. The main agenda items include internal elections for leadership posts and revision of governing statutes.

Former MDP chairman Ali Waheed is seeking the party’s presidency whilst Gasim remains the leader and presumptive nominee.

Gasim – a two-time presidential candidate and owner of the Villa business empire – was the kingmaker in the past two presidential elections as his endorsement of Nasheed and Yameen proved pivotal in second round run-offs.

The broad coalitions that won power in 2008 and 2013 collapsed within weeks.

JP broke with the ruling coalition and sided with the opposition in early 2015. The opposition coalition was later bolstered with the Adhaalath Party and former president Gayoom’s faction of the divided ruling party.

In August last year, Gasim was found guilty of attempted bribery and sentenced to more than three years in prison.

The Maamigili MP was granted medical leave to seek treatment in Singapore and later secured a special permit from the German government to travel to Frankfurt, where he continues to reside.

JP shadow cabinet

  1. President – Gasim Ibrahim
  2. Vice President – Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed
  3. Foreign Minister – Dunya Maumoon
  4. Finance Minister – Dr Mahmood Shaugy
  5. Defence Minister – Ali Waheed
  6. Home Minister – Abdulla Riyaz
  7. Tourism Minister – Mohamed Nazim
  8. Housing Minister – Sheikh Imran Abdulla
  9. Arts and Culture Minister – Yumna Maumoon
  10. National Planning and Communication Minister – Dr Abdulla Mausoom
  11. Economic Minister – Mohamed Rasheed
  12. Attorney General – Noorul Salam Abubakuru
  13. Health Minister – Dr Shah Mahir
  14. Higher Education Minister – Ahmed Riyaz
  15. Gender and Social Security Minister – Shidhatha Shareef
  16. Youth and Sports Minister – Mohamed Maleeh Jamal
  17. Transport and Civil Aviation Minister – Ameen Ibrahim
  18. Fisheries and Agriculture Minister – Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan
  19. Human Resource and Labour Minister – Abdulla Kamaludeen
  20. Environment and Energy Minister – Mohamed Fayaz