Government coalition partner, Adhaalath Party (AP) has accused Parliament Speaker and leader of ruling MDP, former President Mohamed Nasheed of trying to achieve selfish political goals under the guise of freedom, equality and economic prosperity.
AP made the accusation in a statement on Saturday night in response to an earlier statement by Nasheed in which he described AP as a “minor coalition partner”, and criticized the government for the withdrawal of support for the bill to amend the Penal Code to stop hate speech in face of objections from AP and other conservative religious parties.
AP condemned the statement by Nasheed, and accused him of trying to portray the Maldivian people as extremists.
“This is a false, inaccurate, and rhetorical statement trying to achieve selfish political goals under the guise of freedom, equality and economic prosperity,” said AP.
The party said the Maldivians are a peaceful people who strive for justice, stand against corruption, and above all, uphold Islamic values.
“Maldivians have upheld these principles for over 800 years and are determined to continue to be guided by these principles. The Adhaalath Party (Ap) was formed on and continues to uphold these values, to ensure the sovereignty of this nation is not harmed,” said AP.
AP said that the party, Jumhoory Party (JP), and Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) formed the coalition back in 2015 to stand against tyranny, arbitrary detention, injustice and corruption, and stressed that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih came to power on a coalition ticket.
AP said that the hate speech bill is opposed, not just by AP, but all government coalition partners except for MDP.
“Furthermore, the Maldivian people in general, represented by more than 120 local councils, more than 100 NGOs, all coalition partners except MDP, the opposition parties, and a large number of parliamentarians expressed their concerns and rejection of said amendment,” said AP. “It is false, to the extent of delusion, to claim that this is the majority view.”
AP said their concern regarding the bill stemmed from noncompliance with UN guidelines on prevention of hate crime, recommendations of Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, obligations under International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the bill’s infringement on freedom of expression, and contradiction with the Constitution and principles of Islam.
The party said it issued a statement detailing its concern and announced it wished to address the issues through discussions.
AP said it applauds President Solih for meaningful steps towards solving the issue of violent extremism in Maldives, as well as the efforts of AP leader Imran Abdulla, in his capacity as Home Minister, to implement the government’s counter-extremism policies.
The party reaffirmed its continued support to President Solih.
The hate speech bill was reviewed by the Judiciary Committee, which completed the work presented it to the Parliament floor for a vote earlier this July. However, the bill wasn’t called to vote, but was sent back to the committee.
Nasheed, in his statement, accused President Solih of allowing AP to monopolize his every decision, and said he finds it very difficult to support the government if it is unable to employ the leadership required to support the hate speech bill.