Democrats extend separate proposals to two parties with stringent deadline

Interim council meeting of The Democrats held on September 18, 2023. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Shaathiu Abdulla)

The Democrats have passed a resolution to extend separate proposals to two political parties regarding the formation of a coalition for the runoff of the presidential election; subject to a stringent deadline of two days to make a decision.

The resolution was passed during the seventh meeting of the party’s Interim Council held at Billabong High International School on Monday night, by the votes of 50 members out of the 64 members in attendance at the meeting.

The resolution was put forth by Mohamed Shifaz, former minister at the President’s Office.

As per the resolution, The Democrats condition to form a coalition for main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) is agreement to hold a constitutional referendum before September 28th. Meanwhile, the condition put forth to opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) was signing a document which specifies the share of The Democrats in forming a government.

Interim council meeting of The Democrats held on September 18, 2023. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Shaathiu Abdulla)

The resolution also proposes that the council must decide not to back either party, if both parties fail to agree to the terms.

Presenting the resolution – Shifaz said past experiences show the existence of a coalition provides no benefit. Therefore, he stressed that participation in a government was not smart.

“We have all experienced going to the job in coalition government for mere days. Therefore, in my view, it is not smart to participate in a government,” he said.

Most members who debated on the resolution were in the view of not supporting either candidate in the runoff.

Central Henveiru MP Ali Azim said the most preferable solution was the party, independently, paving a prosperous path for the people.

“As you may know, it is not easy to cooperate with others in this system, the presidential system. We have learned now that we stand to gain no benefit by pursuing this,” he said.

Interim council meeting of The Democrats held on September 18, 2023. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Shaathiu Abdulla)

Some other members, while debating, expressed the best outcome for The Democrats as MDP’s President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s loss in the election.

Parliament’s Deputy Speaker Eva Abdulla described The Democrats as the most ‘hopeful’ political party in the Maldives at present.

“A party like us, has no need to take any sides. We can stay, true to ourselves,” she said.

Hulhudhoo MP Ilyas Labeeb contested the presidential election on The Democrats’ ticket. He placed third, with 7.18 percent of the votes, amounting to over 15,000.

Subsequently, the parties contesting in the runoff initiated coalition discussions with The Democrats.

But the Democrats set a key condition for any deal; support for a constitutional referendum to change the system of governance in Maldives from the current presidential system, to a parliamentary system.

Discussions with PPM came to a standstill after the party’s refusal to sign an official document, while Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, the driving force of The Democrats, unsuccessfully sought a meeting with PPM’s leader, former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom.

Therefore, the party is only engaged in discussions with MDP at present.

The main ruling party has agreed to hold a constitutional referendum after the runoff. However, The Democrats is demanding to hold a referendum before the runoff.