The Edition


Qasim is experienced politician, will uphold coalition: President Solih

Shahudha Mohamed
04 April 2019, MVT 21:16
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih during the exclusive interview given to local media Mihaaru. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI / MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
04 April 2019, MVT 21:16

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih affirmed his belief that Qasim Ibrahim is one of the most experienced politicians in Maldives and will not renounce the coalition even if Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) secures majority in the parliamentary elections.

When questioned about theories of Jumhooree Party (JP) leaving the coalition based on election results, during an interview with local media Mihaaru on March 27, President stated his belief that Qasim would understand the inner workings or a coalition, as well as the repercussions breaking up such an alliance.

"[What of] the conflict that will arise in the country. I don't believe, or even want to believe that such a politically experienced person would make such a decision."

While President Solih's sentiments seemingly remain optimistic, tensions between MDP and JP are high, following disputes and heated exchanges regarding MDP's decision to gun for all the constituencies in the parliamentary elections scheduled for Saturday.

JP leader Qasim claims that President Solih's administration will take undue advantage if able to secure parliament majority, while MDP insists that a majority is necessary to ensure the best interests of the people.

President Solih and former President Mohamed Nasheed are leading a rigorous campaign to secure an MDP majority in parliament.

President Solih stated that if anything, the past four months had convinced him that a coalition-led government could function well.

"I am content knowing that. Despite the competitiveness for parliamentary elections, I have no doubt that the coalition will be maintained. Even with our differences, we can find ways to move forward. That's not a difficult thing for me", President Solih assured.

When mentioned that recent events indicate disputes within the coalition, President Solih reiterated that there were no conflicts within the government and guaranteed that the coalition remained intact.

"I am extremely thankful that all of us are working towards fulfilling our pledges after casting aside the differences in our political ideologies. The problem is that we could not run for parliament in collaboration. Therefore, I'm seeing each party trying to secure majority or win as many seats possible."

Additionally, President Solih expressed that he does not believe holding a meeting between coalition leaders prior to the election will generate a positive outcome. However, he stated that a meeting between coalition leaders will take place following the election.

Regarding the heated exchanges by leaders of the coalition, the President stated that such comments were made for the purpose of succeeding in the election. He added that differences in political ideology is also a reason for the exchanges.

"There is a competitiveness in political ideologies in order to be elected for parliament. Within parliament, there are MPs who propose two different methods to achieve one outcome. That happens. There are two routes to reach one destination. A short route and a long route and many other ways", President Solih explained.

Although President Solih holds the coalition's bond in great faith, leaders of JP and MDP have flung harsh criticism at each other over campaign podiums. MDP's announcement to run for all constituencies in violation of the coalition agreement led to JP endorsing candidates of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People's National Congress (PNC).

Nasheed condemned Qasim's alliance with the opposition, commenting that the JP leader was falling into an elaborate trap set by former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

Jumhooree Party itself is riddled with disputes, as the party's President and Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed publicly disapproved and pointed out the hypocrisy of Qasim and JP's recent decisions.