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Jumhooree Party announces shadow cabinet sans MDP, sparking outcry

Fathmath Shaahunaz
19 June 2018, MVT 23:01
Qasim Ibrahim (L) and Dr. Mohamed Jameel shake hands during a meeting in Germany.
Fathmath Shaahunaz
19 June 2018, MVT 23:01

Jumhooree Party (JP)'s leader Qasim Ibrahim has announced the shadow cabinet of his party's coalition sans main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), to resounding criticism.

Qasim, who resides in Germany under political asylum, made the announcement via video on his Facebook page on Tuesday. He declared himself the President of a Jumhooree coalition, with former Vice President Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed as his deputy.

With vows to establish 20 ministries in a Jumhooree coalition regime, the local tycoon and former lawmaker revealed his picks for the cabinet posts, based on a coalition involving only JP, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party, and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's faction of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

Jumhooree Coalition Cabinet

- President: Qasim Ibrahim

- Vice President: Mohamed Jameel Ahmed

- Minister of Foreign Affairs: Dunya Maumoon

- Minister of Finance and Treasury: Dr. Mahmood Shaugee

- Minister of Defence and National Security: Ali Waheed

- Minister of Home Affairs: Abdulla Riyaz

- Minister of Tourism: Mohamed Nazim

- Minister of Housing and Infrastructure: Sheikh Imran Abdulla

- Minister of Economic Development: Mohamed Rasheed

- Minister of Environment and Energy: Mohamed Fayaz

- Minister of Health: Dr. Shah Mahir

- Minister of Youth and Sports: Mohamed Maleeh Jamaal

- Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture: Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan

- Minister of Islamic Affairs: Ali Zahir

- Minister of Arts and Culture: Yumna Maumoon

- Minister of National Planning and Communication: Dr. Abdulla Mausoom

- Minister of Higher Education: Ahmed Riyaz

- Minister of Gender and Social Security: Shidhaatha Shareef

- Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation: Ameen Ibrahim

- Minister of Human Resources and Labour: Abdullah Kamaludeen

- Attorney General: Noor Al Salaam

Qasim Ibrahim went on to announce that Faris Maumoon, the currently detained lawmaker of Dhiggaru constituency, would be appointed as Parliament Speaker in his administration. Member of JP and Kendhoo MP Ali Hussain would be the Deputy Speaker.

According to Qasim, the proposed cabinet for a JP presidency comprises of members whom JP believes would cooperate with the party. He further noted that his party had formed coalitions ahead of the last two presidential elections as well, and aided the subsequent ruling parties to victory.

Qasim added that JP decided to announce a cabinet as the opposition coalition has failed thus far to nominate a single candidate for this year's election. He assured that should it happen, JP would ultimately support that candidate.

Floodgates open as criticism pours in

Soon after Qasim Ibrahim announced his Jumhooree coalition cabinet with the gaping absence of MDP, representatives of the joint opposition took to social media, proclaiming that JP had not discussed the matter with any of them.

Adhaalath Party declared in a tweet that, aside from the joint opposition's collaborative works, it has not entered into coalition with any political parties.

"In the case of such a decision, AP would officially announce it," read the party's tweet in local Dhivehi language.

Qasim had declared Adhaalath Party's convicted leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla as the housing minister of his cabinet, while the party's deputy leader Ali Zahir was named as the Islamic affairs minister, and its Foreign Affairs Committee member Shidhaatha Shareef as the gender minister.

Aminath Nadira of former President Gayoom's faction also stated that JP had made the announcement without discussing it with Gayoom or his supporters.

"We're still working with all four parties [of the joint opposition]," she tweeted.

Qasim had appointed Gayoom's daughters Dunya and Yumna Maumoon, as foreign minister, and arts and culture minister respectively, while his son Faris Maumoon was declared as Parliament Speaker.

Moreover, Qasim's announcement was met with disdain from the deputy leader of his party, Abdullah Kamaludeen, as well. Kamaludeen, who was appointed as the labour minister of the Jumhooree coalition shadow cabinet, stated in a tweet that he was not one to accept "posts that are imposed on [him]" without his opinion taken into consideration first.

Parliamentarians of the joint opposition also shared their sentiments on social media, criticising Qasim Ibrahim's announcement. Galolhu South MP Ahmed Mahloof highlighted the lack of discussion involved prior to JP's decision, and expressed his shock.

Shortly after the live announcement, Qasim Ibrahim's video was deleted from his Facebook page. According to JP's chief spokesperson Ali Solih, the video was taken down due to audio glitches. He stated that an amended video would be posted again, asserting that its disappearance had nothing to do with the reaction to the announcement.

The opposition alliance had earlier proclaimed that it would nominate a single candidate to beat President Abdulla Yameen in the Presidential Election slated for September this year. However, the coalition is still yet to announce a candidate, resulting in much public criticism.

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