MAMOSA Report (Updated)– The Maldives Government has again urged the opposition parties to re-engage in talks aimed at forging consensus on key issues related to national development and for strengthening of democracy in the country.
President Abdulla Yameen’s call for engagement on democratic lines comes after the opposition failed in its bid to get a no-confidence motion against the Parliament Speaker passed.
On Sunday, the Spokesperson at the President’s Office Ibrahim Muaz Ali stated that the no confidence motion against the Speaker of Parliament resubmitted by the opposition today, was an attempt at bringing political unrest and disorder. The Spokesperson also noted that it was a deliberate attack on the administration and an attempt to stall development endeavors.
Spokesperson Muaz urged the opposition to engage with the administration and participate in the all-party talks initiated by the administration, aimed at strengthening the country’s democracy.
The opposition is being led by London-based ex-President Mohammed Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP); ex-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, a PPM rebel; and Sheikh Imran Abdulla of the Adhaalath Party.
The ruling three-party Maldives Combined Front (MCF) led by the Maldivian President Yameen, comprises the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM); the Maldivian Development Alliance (MDA) and the Dhihevi Rayyathunge Party (DRP).
The government says the opposition is attempting to destabilize the democratic setup based on false accusations. The opposition accuses the government of corruption and authoritarianism.
“Since the vote of no-confidence against Parliament’s Speaker, the opposition has made repeated claims of intimidation,” a government statement said. “They use as evidence the investigations currently underway against some members of the Parliament. However, the government reiterates that the judiciary and police in the Maldives are independent of government, or party, interference,” it added.
The Maldives Government says the current administration will not differentiate in any way when it comes to enforcement and collection of tax by the Maldives Inland Revenue (MIRA).
Reacting to the opposition’s criticism of the arrest of Jumhoori Party leader and member parliament Qasim Ibrahim on Thursday, the ruling MCF said the arrest was made on legitimate grounds and followed set legal procedures.
Qasim was not arrested for signing the March 24 statement calling for removal of the government, but for unduly influencing MPs to vote for the Non-Confidence Motion against the Parliament Speaker, the statement added.
According to reports, MP Ibrahim Qasim was taken into police custody on 6 April, under a court warrant. On the next day he was produced at the Criminal Court for remand hearing, in which he was represented by a team of lawyers.
The Court remanded Ibrahim in custody for six days for the Police to carry out the investigation.
The key allegations against Ibrahim include his attempts to bribe lawmakers, in order to win the no-confidence vote against the parliament speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed, and attempting to influence the no-confidence motion against the Deputy Speaker, scheduled for April 11, and attempting to influence the security forces to unlawfully topple the Government, thereby causing a threat to national security,” the statement said.
Following the arrest of MP Qasim, the opposition has been calling for people to come out into the street for demonstrations. “There is very little evidence of support for such calls in the public, however,” the statement added.
Former president and combined leader Nasheed told media the voting showed government has only a wafer-thin majority and that the government may lose parliamentary support if a few more MPs pledge their support to the opposition.
During a press conference held at the President’s Office, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Ahmed Munawar and the Minister at the President’s Office Ahmed Zuhoor, shed light on the fact that certain individuals take shelter in politics to withhold taxable income from the government. The Finance Minister stated that the current Administration will do everything it is legally empowered to do to collect outstanding taxes.
The Statement expressed further regret that the opposition is using the international community and media to tarnish the efforts of the current Administration, with no regard to the consequences on the State and the people.
The Maldives Combined Front has called for a fact-check on the claims made by the opposition, on the rule of law and the rights enshrined by the Constitution. They further called on all parties to genuinely work towards the strengthening of democracy in the Maldives, and to re-engage with the Government and other parties, to restore order, harmony, and civility to the nations political, and connected social landscape.