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Opposition challenges Maldives govt’s “real size”

Fathmath Shaahunaz
06 November 2016, MVT 16:05
Mohamed Shifaz (L) and Ali Zahir pictured during the joint press conference held by MDP and Adhaalath Party (AP) on Tuesday. MIHAARU PHOTO/FAZEENA AHMED
Fathmath Shaahunaz
06 November 2016, MVT 16:05

One small opportunity is all that is needed to reveal the real size of the current government and depth of public outrage and despair over President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s regime, declared main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) on Sunday.

The declaration is a counter to President Yameen’s faction of the divided ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), which declared that their recent rally at Alimas Carnival held to assert that they are the “true” PPM was the largest party gathering held in the Maldives so far. Stating that 12,000 participants had attended the rally, President Yameen’s faction had proclaimed that no opposition party could achieve such a feat.

Adhaalath Party’s deputy leader Ali Zahir had raised questions regarding the validity of PPM’s statement on his Twitter. Accusing the government of excessive expenditures and improper use of the police force, military and state institutions, he said that the real number of rally attendees was only 3,500 even with 13 government chartered flights to ferry participants to capital Male for the gathering.

He challenged the government to give the Maldives United Opposition (MUO) the chance to hold their own rally, which would reveal the true numbers and where they stand.

Seconding Ali Zahir’s tweets, MDP’s deputy leader Mohamed Shifaz said the government is apprehensive to allow opposition coalition rallies. He declared that with one small chance, the true entirety of President Yameen’s government will be betrayed to the world.

Shifaz also accused the government of coercing state institutions to force their employees to attend PPM’s “true” rally.

He added that the rally was further proof of the government’s improper use of state assets and resources, bemoaning the lack of an integral watchdog to hold the government accountable for its actions.

President Yameen’s faction had covered travel and accommodation expenses, ranging from MVR 300 – 500, for most of the citizens that arrived from atoll islands to attend the rally. A government official had said on twitter that the state had covered expenses to ease financial issues for the rally’s participants.

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