Maldives opposition coalition mulls local polls boycott

Members of the opposition coalition's shadow cabinet.

Members of the opposition coalition’s shadow cabinet.

The recently formed opposition coalition is mulling to boycott the upcoming local council elections next year.

Spokesperson for the Maldives United Opposition Ahmed Mahloof said the shadow cabinet of the coalition had convened and the subsequent preliminary thinking is to boycott the local elections slated for next January.

Main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) will make a decision at party level, the South-Galolhu MP Mahloof said.

“The preliminary thinking of the shadow cabinet is to boycott the local council elections,” Mahloof who was a a former pro-government MP added.

According to Mahloof, the shadow cabinet’s decision is primarily based on concerns of a free and fair elections due to the political influence within the electoral body.

The elections commission’s decision to introduce electronic voting to the Maldives for the local elections is to sway the vote in the government’s favour, he added.

“We don’t believe that the elections commission is now independent. So we don’t believe a prejudiced institution can hold a free and fair elections through e-voting,” Mahloof said.

Five rival opposition groups had announced a united front to remove President Abdulla Yameen from office.

The group brings together the Maldivian Democratic Party, the Adhaalath Party, two of Yameen’s former deputies and his former defence minister.

The coalition had announced a 19 member shadow cabinet comprised of senior opposition figures and former top officials of President Yameen’s administration.

-Opposition coalition’s shadow cabinet-

  • Abdulla Ameen (defence and national security)
  • Mohamed Shihab (finance and treasury)
  • Ahmed Thasmeen Ali (home affairs)
  • Ahmed Naseem (foreign affairs)
  • Adam Azim (trade and transport)
  • Mohamed Aslam (environment, clean energy, and waste management)
  • Hisaan Hussain (judicial reform)
  • Ahmed Nasheed (housing and infrastructure)
  • Shifa Mohamed (education)
  • Musthafa Luthfy (higher education)
  • Mohamed Shifaz (youth and sports)
  • Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari (Islamic affairs)
  • Hassan Latheef (civil rights)
  • Gais Naseer (local government and decentralisation)
  • Ibrahim Ameer (international financial agreements, fisheries, and agriculture)
  • Shidatha Shareef (health, gender, and social protection)
  • Mohamed Maleeh Jamal (resort and guesthouse tourism)
  • Ali Niyaz (elections commission and independent institutions reform)
  • Hussain Shameem (constitutional reform)

Former Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed was named leader of the United Maldives Opposition.

The coalition was established in London where key members of the opposition are in exile.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed, Adhaalath Party Leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, and former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim will serve as advisors.

Abdulla Ameen was previously a minister at the president’s office. He resigned in July last year ahead of Jameel’s impeachment by the ruling party-dominated parliament.

Mohamed Maleeh Jamal, a cousin of the former vice president, was meanwhile sacked as minister of youth and sports in June 2015.

Adam Azim, former managing director of the State Trading Organisation, represents jailed former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim.

 

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