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No coalition to avoid blame game: Qasim

Lamya Abdulla
17 September 2023, MVT 17:05
Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Qasim Ibrahim speaking to the press after the party's council meeting on September 16, 2023 --
Lamya Abdulla
17 September 2023, MVT 17:05

Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Qasim Ibrahim said that he chose not to support the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)/ People’s National Congress (PNC) coalition in the second round of the presidential election.

He said that this decision was motivated by the fact that he has had to bear the consequences of mistakes made by administrations he had previously supported and helped elect.

During the council meeting held on Saturday, JP decided to adopt a neutral stance in the second round and focus on promoting the party.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, he described the previous governments he had supported had “tricked him”.

"When things go wrong, they also fall on my shoulders. Governments that I supported, the people hold us responsible for their actions. I never imagined it would be like this. Many people are now facing unjust charges," Qasim said.

“There is no support for me right, since I keep aiding in bringing such administrations forward. Why should I work to bring these corrupt and dishonest people to office, who destroy my dignity and self.”

JP, which has typically secured third place in previous elections where they have fielded a candidate, only managed to garner 5,000 votes this year. This decline in support is attributed to the individuals they have supported in past elections, according to him.

Therefore, they will not be assisting any party in the second round, Qasim said.

"We have never brought people to office to belittle or humiliate the citizens. Instead, we aimed for honesty without corruption and sought to fulfill the commitments and promises made to them. With our support, three governments have come to power. However, all these governments have deceived the people and failed to uphold the promises they made. Even the commitments made to our party were only partially fulfilled, and we received only a fraction of what the state promised," said Qasim. He also added that his party had been excluded from two previous coalitions.

Qasim said that their party is usually defamed due to the actions of the parties they elect.

“Why should I help elect dishonest people? Until my soul leaves my body I will continue to work to put the country on the straight path and to eliminate corruption,” Qasim said.

“I don’t want to act as if I am too relevant a person or too big a person. [I got] less votes that Umar Naseer in this election.”

During the interview, he said that India's influence in the Maldives was strengthened by previous governments, including former President Mohamed Nasheed, former President Abdulla Yameen and the current government as well. He said that his government was not satisfied with the fact that it had signed agreements with India and decided not to go ahead with the party as there had been a lot of scams during its tenure.

"India is a friendly nation to us, and the Government of India has been very helpful. However, there are boundaries we must respect. Indians are here because the then-administration granted them permission in the manner it was allowed. We do not agree with this approach. We cannot relinquish control of our ocean territory unless it is approved by our parliament according to our stipulations and conveyed to the Prime Minister of Mauritius," he said.

"I would support that candidate if I believed that what I saw in that document was correct, without a doubt. This isn't limited to just this administration. In the past, during former President Nasheed's administration, helicopters were brought in. I believe there are elements in the agreement that exceed acceptable boundaries. Subsequently, during President Yameen's administration, when Nazim served as Defense Minister, they decided to bring more helicopters, including the one in Laamu atoll," he said.

He said radar and Uthuru Thilafalhu (UTF) had also been discussed during Yameen's administration and since then, the current government has acted in the same format that was discussed earlier.

“From that I can see the constitutional dangers. I do not wish to go into those details now,” Qasim said.

He said that even though he is not supporting any party right now, he will not be distancing himself from the political arena. He said he always works towards improvement and that is what he will be continuing to do so.

He said that both MDP and PPM had submitted proposals to form an alliance for the second round of elections and he does not wish to reveal the details. The need of the hour is for the party to grow, he said.