Jumhooree Party (JP) on Wednesday rushed to put out fires ignited by its leader Qasim Ibrahim's announcement of his cabinet in a Jumhooree coalition presidency.
Amidst the opposition alliance's efforts to nominate a single candidate to beat President Abdulla Yameen in the Presidential Election this year, Qasim on Tuesday had announced his picks for a shadow cabinet 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). Members of main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) were glaringly absent in his proposed list.
JP immediately came under fire, with numerous members of the joint opposition proclaiming that Qasim Ibrahim had made the announcement without discussing it with any of the other parties involved. Adhaalath Party and Gayoom's faction explicitly stated that their allegiances were with the current four-party opposition alliance, and that neither had formed any other coalitions.
Following the criticism, JP's deputy leader Ameen Ibrahim declared on Wednesday that the shadow cabinet was merely a proposed idea by Qasim Ibrahim, and that it posed no threats whatsoever to the joint efforts of the opposition alliance for the presidential election.
"Qasim has not offered cabinet posts to anyone yet. It was only a thought," Ameen, who lives in self-exile in the United Kingdom, told local newspaper Mihaaru.
Ameen elaborated that Qasim's proposed cabinet was an alternative idea in case the opposition alliance failed to nominate a single candidate. However JP would be on board with a single candidate should one be finalised, he said.
Regarding MDP's prominent absence from Qasim's cabinet, Ameen cryptically replied, "Qasim's thoughts are positive about MDP's leadership as well."
He stated that MDP had very capable people, and should the main opposition be willing to work JP, the latter would cooperate. Noting that MDP itself has compiled its manifesto and finalised a candidate for the election, Ameen stated that JP fully respected MDP's decisions. He expressed confidence that MDP would return the courtesy.
Meanwhile, the main opposition has yet to make any official statements regarding its exclusion from the Jumhooree coalition cabinet. However, several members have already taken to social media, voicing their concerns and disapproval.