President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Thursday urged the parties of the ruling coalition to contest together in the upcoming parliamentary elections, asserting that it was the best path forward.
The president's statement came amidst rifts within the coalition, after Jumhooree Party's leader and Speaker of Parliament, Qasim Ibrahim, accused Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) of violating an agreement within the coalition. According to Qasim, the member parties had agreed to run for parliament together, similar to the Presidential Election last September.
However, MDP has decided to contest for all constituencies and Qasim Ibrahim declared that JP has been "thrown out onto the streets". Expressing his discontent at MDP and its leader, former President Mohamed Nasheed, Qasim has invited all parties interested in working with JP, including former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, for discussion.
Speaking at a press conference at the President's Office, President Solih addressed the issue, clarifying that the coalition parties had not signed any written agreements on contesting for parliament. However, he revealed that he had signed an agreement with JP and MDP's Chairperson Hassan Latheef.
Prior to the 2018 Presidential Election, the disagreement within the coalition on nominating a single candidate was finally settled after agreeing to contest together in the Presidential Election, Parliamentary Election, and Local Council Election. According to the president, the leaders of then-opposition parties, with the exception of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, had signed the agreement with him.
However, President Solih reiterated that the coalition parties had not signed an agreement specifically on seat-sharing in the Parliamentary Election. He admitted that the parties have still not reached a decision yet.
He declared that he wished for a government-majority parliament in order to fulfill his pledges, though he stressed that this encompassed all the parties in the ruling coalition.
President Solih went on to assure that the coalition will remain strong, with the efforts of the four leaders.
"I have yet to witness any actions from any parties that could disrupt the coalition".
The president further reiterated his vow to compile a legislation regarding the workings of a coalition administration.
"In our discussions, the parties have agreed that this change needs to be made to the Constitution as well".