The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), is deeply concerned by the Government’s clear attempts to obstruct the UN- mediated Talks.
Following the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group’s decision to place the Maldives on its formal agenda, in September, the MDP welcomed the CMAG stipulations and urged the Government to immediately engage in political dialogue with all stakeholders to resolve the on-going political crisis.
However, a series of letters from the President’s office, show deliberate efforts to complicate the process by overstepping its mandate and dictating preconditions before the Talks have even convened.
– On 4 October, the President Office sent a letter to all parties saying that the names of the party representatives at the Talks should be endorsed by its ‘council.’
– On 10 October, the President’s office sent a second letter to the MDP saying “the President is concerned about the decisions taken by the MDP; MDP’s representatives at the all- party dialogue must be selected by the ‘council,’ and that the Government will not accept a nominee, if the person is currently serving a sentence.”
The MDP believes this is superfluous meddling in the internal running of the Party, and has communicated to the Government informing the Government that the party will adhere to its standing orders, and reminding the Government that it has no legal mandate to dictate internal matters of the parties.
These letters show the Government trying to tightly control who will be allowed to participate in the Talks, and primarily to obstruct the participation of President Nasheed. This is particularly remarkable, given that MDP has as yet not communicated who will be representing the party at the Talks. The MDP finds this turnaround by the Government astonishing, given that, on the day the CMAG decision was released, the Government had announced that it did not have any preconditions.
The MDP cannot accept the Government of the Maldives dictating such preconditions to the political dialogue.
The MDP believes the Government is deliberately overstepping its mandate in an attempt to frustrate this party and other opposition parties to withdraw support from the Talks. This is a clear attempt to undermine the UN- mediated Talks.
At a time when the Government and all sides need to be more accommodating, and compromising, we find the Government is hardening its stance.
The MDP however, reiterates its firm commitment for UN- mediated political dialogue. The MDP calls on the Government of the Maldives to put an immediate end to this prevarication and reiterates its call on the Government to engage in immediate talks, in order to avert suspension from the Commonwealth, and to return the country to the democratic path.
“This is clear sophistry. President Yameen has plunged this country into an international- pariah state, and is not in a position to dictate preconditions. While the MDP is committed to sincere dialogue, we are also concerned that President Yameen is using the talks to hoodwink the international community, while he buys time for him to fully change the Maldives into an autocratic state,” said MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor.