Jumhooree Party leader’s public admission of pressure from within Judiciary, MNDF and Police augments MDP view that current government is illegitimate


Briefing Note
24 June 2014, Male’

Jumhooree Party leader’s public admission of pressure from within Judiciary, MNDF and Police augments MDP view that current government is illegitimate

The Maldivian Democratic Party’s statements that a large majority in Maldives presently view the current government to be illegitimate has been augmented by recent public admissions made by the leader of the Jumhooree Party Honorable Qasim Ibrahim.

Hon. Qasim, the main coalition partner and alleged Coup collaborator, claimed at a press conference on 17 June 2014 that he was urged to support President Yaameen Abdul Gayoom by judges as well as Police and army officers and that he decided to back the PPM candidate in the presidential election run-off in November 2013 after their requests.

Hon Qasim said that a number of judges as well as MNDF (army) and Police officers had met him personally and appealed to him to support the PPM candidate. He also claimed that he had expended Rf 20 million on Hon. Yameen’s campaign ahead of the run-off polls on November 16 as the coalition agreement stated that the parties should support each other. Hon. Qasim said he gave part of the money at the request of Hon. Yameen Abdul Gayoom and his running mate Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed while the rest was spent for JP members to visit islands on campaign trips.

Moreover, Hon. Qasim claimed to have spent a further Rf 20 million for the PPM during the parliamentary election campaign. “I sent an amount no less than Rf 20 million to President Maumoon and President Yameen,” he said.

After finishing in third place with 23.27 percent of the vote in the repeat first round of the presidential election, Hon. Qasim initially announced that the JP would not back either candidate. However, he reversed the decision to remain neutral following a meeting with PPM leader former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

MDP candidate President Mohamed Nasheed had emerged the frontrunner in the first round revote with 46.93 percent while PPM candidate Yameen Abdul Gayoom polled 29.73 percent.

MDP leaders in a press briefing held this week stated that Hon. Qasim’s recent revelations of pressure from within the judiciary, the MNDF and Police to endorse President Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s candidacy also vindicated the party’s allegations of a “coup d’état” on 07 February 2012, and that the coup’s illegitimate influences had continued on to install the current regime in power.

MDP also noted that even prior to Hon. Qasim’s recent admissions, the party had continued calls for action against sections of the judiciary, the military and the police, who were alleged to be part of the coup and subsequent unlawful and unconstitutional interference in the presidential and parliamentary elections.

Speaking to the Press recently MDP International Affairs Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said that it was “a blatant violation of the people’s rights and their vote that the Judiciary, the military and Police unduly influenced who should hold the office of President.” He noted that “the Maldivian public and foreign well-wishers including investors would not have any confidence in a judiciary seen as an extension of politicians in power, rather than an independent decision making body. He added that “it had been a long standing matter of alarm that sections of the MNDF and Police being coerced to be politically biased, even radicalized by the current regime linked to the former dictatorship”.

Government lacks popular support after marred elections and split in coalition

The recent split between the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the Jumhooree Party (JP) has resulted in a government lacking popular support. On 26 May 2014, the PPM announced in a press statement that the party’s council had decided unanimously that the coalition agreement “has been brought to an end by the Jumhooree Party” after Hon. Qasim contested for the post of Majlis Speaker. It was in the Elections Commission’s sixth attempt in two months to conduct Presidential Election
polls, that the PPM candidate Yameen Abdul Gayoom, with the support of Hon. Qasim’s Jumhooree Party, polled 51.39 percent of the vote (111,203) to the MDP candidate’s 48.61 percent (105,181). Maldives presidential elections 2013 were marred by repeated delays, multiple cancellations, a Supreme Court-ordered annulment and Police obstruction. On 07 October 2013, the Supreme Court annulled the results of the first round of the polls conducted on 07 September in a controversial
4-3 decision – citing a “confidential Police forensic report” -despite unanimous positive assessment of the polling by more than a thousand domestic and scores of international election observers. While the secret Police report alleging irregularities – which was not shared with the Election Commission’s defense lawyers – was dismissed by a UN expert review, the credibility of the evidence cited by the apex court was also questioned by the Human Rights Commission of Maldives after it emerged that some citizens were incorrectly recorded as being deceased.

The Supreme Court’s decision came after Hon Qasim sought annulment of the first round results alleging widespread electoral fraud.

In January 2014, MDP made public the party’s allegations of Coup perpetrators getting people to use fake national identity cards in the November’s polls, ontending that non-existent people were added to the database at the Department of National Registration (DNR) as part of “efforts to rig the election through the Supreme Court”.

Following the PPMs announcement that the coalition agreement was annulled, the MDP stated publicly that the government lacked popular support and that it was the duty of responsible politicians to change the present government.

The MDPs view prevails that the legitimate means of regime-change was demonstrated in 2012 after the Supreme Court facilitated it by interpreting the Constitution in a controversial method. The CoNI report with the exclusion of testimony from key security personnel and selectively gathering and acting upon evidence seemingly gave legitimacy to the regime-change of 2012. With that legitimacy, the MDP, the current regime and international well-wishers, should not rule out the possibility that one or the other group would soon initiate similar actions to change the current government, as it is increasingly being revealed to be illegitimate.

Before the present situation in Maldives results in troubling confrontations, public disorder and chaos, the MDP appeals to all concerned politicians and national as well as international authorities, to initiate urgent measures in paving the way to bring about a legitimate government in Maldives.

Foreign Relations Committee