Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) stated that the oath taking ceremony scheduled to take place on November 17, which was earlier to be open to the public, would now be closed.
According to a statement made by the committee charged with organizing the oath taking alongside the Parliament, circumstances did not allow for a public ceremony.
At a press conference held late Monday, MDP's Chairperson Hassan Latheef said that it was not possible to host a public oath taking, due to the presence of leaders from several foreign countries as well as other dignitaries, adding that security forces had also advised the event be closed, to ensure protection.
Another reason given by Latheef was the number of invitees that were required to be present.
"Our initial idea was to have the ceremony open to the public. However, one of the reasons it is not possible is because of the number of invitees. As you know, the Galolhu Stadium can only accommodate 11,500 people. When we consider the number of people we need to invite, it amounts to a rather large total," said Latheef.
The committee remained tight-lipped regarding the details of foreign leaders and dignitaries slated to attend the event, stating that the information would be made public at a later time.
Additionally, at the press conference, Latheef also publicly extended MDP's invitation to incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. Latheef expressed hopes that the President would attend the event, stating that the democratic way forward required the former President to be present at the oath taking of the newly victorious candidate.
President Yameen has not yet made a comment on whether he intended to attend the event.
Initially, during the press conference held at Parliament earlier on Monday, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Moosa Manik stated that due to 2018 being the commemorative 50th year of the Republic, the oath-taking ceremony will take part in the celebration of the Golden Jubilee.
Stating that, “After essential people of the Parliament are invited, the invitation cards will be handed over to the political parties. The parties may invite the people they want”, West-Henveiru MP Moosa said that the ceremony aimed to accommodate as many people as the venue can fit.
At the time, Moosa stated that the ceremony will be honoured by those who have served the state, received the national award of recognition and by former Presidents of the nation.
The celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Maldivian Republic will be financed according to the capabilities of the parliamentary budget, said Moosa. Details on whether the celebrations will still take place have not been addressed.
In recent Maldivian tradition, former presidents have had their oath-taking ceremonies either on the premises of Dharubaaruge or the Parliament. Some countries hold their presidential and prime minstrel oath taking ceremonies on large open grounds organized to accommodate the public.
President Yameen lost the election to his opponent from the opposition coalition, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, by more than 38,000 votes in the presidential elections held on September 23, 2018.