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No mention of parliamentary system in opposition coalition's manifesto

Fathmath Shaahunaz
18 September 2018, MVT 09:44
Opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and his running mate Faisal Naseem at a campaign gathering in K.Kaashidhoo. PHOTO/MDP
Fathmath Shaahunaz
18 September 2018, MVT 09:44

The presidential manifesto of the opposition coalition does not mention implementation of a parliamentary system, which was stated in the manifesto of the main opposition party, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

In their manifesto, MDP vowed to amend the Constitution to accord the parliament the authority to appoint a prime minister and Cabinet. The manifesto also stated that the country will be ruled by the party or parties that hold the majority in the parliament.

According to MDP, the proposed changes will decrease the number of political posts as well as reduce state expenditures. Former President Mohamed Nasheed had also proposed at the MDP presidential primary, to change the current presidential system to a parliamentary system.

However, the manifesto released by the opposition alliance, which comprises of MDP, Jumhooree Party, Adhaalath Party and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's Maumoon Reform Movement (MRM), makes no mention of a parliamentary system.

With the exception of MDP, none of the other coalition parties have proposed to implement a parliamentary system either.

Titled 'Ebbaivanthakamuge Sarukaaru', loosely translated into 'A United Government', the joint opposition's manifesto comprises of seven main policies:

Religion of Islam

According to the manifesto, in a coalition government, the country will be run in accordance with Islamic principles. Educational and social activities will be held at mosques without compromising their sanctity, while training programmes will be conducted in a move to appoint Imams with Degree certifications to lead prayer congregations. The coalition government will also establish "Jazeera Islamic Centres" in mosques across Maldives to spread the correct teachings of Islam, reduce differences in religious opinions, and to eliminate extremism ideology.

Running of the state

The manifesto states that the coalition government will run the nation responsibly while safeguarding its sovereignty and independence. The government will establish ties with other countries under an independent foreign policy. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which currently operates under the directive of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, will also be converted to an independent institution.

'Jazeera Dhiriulhun'

Loosely translated into 'island living', this policy seeks to return the previously held authority of the island, city, and atoll councils. Under this policy, much of the mandates of government offices will be delegated to the councils, with the councils accorded the authority to carry out projects and make decisions that do not conflict with the government's action plan.

The coalition government will also introduce an income and tax system for the councils, as well as establish all the land, lagoons and reefs that fall under an island council's jurisdiction as part of that island.

The manifesto also vows to provide adequate land for families that live in cramped conditions such as small flats.

Economy

The economic policy of the joint opposition assures adequate remuneration for all workers. Vowing to reduce electricity tariffs, the policy also promises to change the current practice of using construction aggregate, and cement seawalls and breakwaters for harbour development and coastal reinforcement.

The manifesto also states that inhabited islands which share a lagoon will connected. The policy further vows to withhold permission for foreign vessels to fish in Maldivian seas, and to raise the price of yellow-fin tuna.

'Fahuruveri Dhivehi Aaila'

Translating to a 'proud Maldivian family', this policy assures housing for all citizens, including issuing of land plots from islands and financial assistance for housing. The coalition manifesto also pledges to establish a peaceful and secure community, by preventing harassment, and sexual and racial discrimination. The opposition also vows to abolish the obstructions currently faced by men who keep long beards and women who don the niqab. Moreover, the policy promises to build a productive young generation, with proper education and skills training.

A 'kind' government

The joint opposition has made many promises to parents under this policy, such as paid six-month maternity leaves and paid one-month paternity leaves. The coalition government will also provide housing subsidies for land or flat-buyers who are struggling financially.

Justice

According to the manifesto, the coalition government will review politically motivated convictions, politically influenced verdicts of civil cases, and government deals that negatively impacted the state. The opposition also vows to recover embezzled state funds, under this policy.

According to the manifesto, the 'United Government''s most important line of work within its first two years will be to right all the wrongs of its predecessor. The coalition government will also amend the Constitution to enhance and strengthen the system of running the nation, as well as ensure the reliability of state institutions, the manifesto adds.

Furthermore, the manifesto revealed that the four opposition party leaders will sign an agreement which will detail what constitutes a breakup of the alliance, the status of the government in the event of a breakup, and other solutions to any issues the coalition may face. According to the manifesto, this agreement will be submitted and passed by the parliament within 31 days of assuming office should the coalition succeed the upcoming presidential election on September 23.

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