Opposition coalition: No issue with holding a constitutional referendum

Mohamed Tholal, Dr. Mohamed Muizzu's campaign spokesperson, speaks to press.

Opposition PPM-PNC coalition’s presidential candidate Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s campaign spokesperson Mohamed Tholal, on Tuesday, has stated that the coalition has no issue with holding a constitutional referendum to decide the governance system of the Maldives.

Speaking at a press conference held at PPM headquarters on Tuesday – Tholal, commenting on The Democrats’ runoff decision, said the system of governance at present had been decided by the citizens in 2007.

Therefore, he said PPM will agree to change the system of governance as desired by the people even now. However, he stressed that the party will not promote a specific system of governance.

“We have no issue with going for a constitutional referendum. That’s our decision,” he said.

Nevertheless, Tholal, emphasizing there was no opportunity to hold a constitutional referendum before the presidential election’s runoff as of present, said such a vote can be held after the election.

He noted that the opposition coalition’s leader, former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom supported a parliamentary system, however, felt it was suitable for Maldives due to the existing political state of the nation.

“It can only be done by introducing very comprehensive laws to the Maldives. There is no concern about switching to a parliamentary system if these laws can also be strictly enforced. That environment, however, does not exist here as of now. That is President Yameen’s view,” he said.

Speaking further, Tholal said the opposition PPM-PNC coalition responding before The Democrats made an official decision was not the best course of action.

He added that the door for discussions with the coalition still remains open, while adding the coalition’s leadership was deliberating in light of The Democrats’ decision on Monday night.

He said the leadership’s decision will be informed to The Democrats, as the parties explore to find common ground.

“We, under any circumstances, will not close the door to any parties that wish to work together with us. Our doors are still open, even for those who have not yet made a decision or have decided to not back any sides,” he said.

Tholal said there were ideologies of both the opposition parties which Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, the driving force of The Democrats, do not agree with. Describing them as the PPM’s foundational ideologies, he stressed the parties cannot let of them.

“We cannot compromise our impudence. We cannot compromise our religion. We cannot compromise our education policies. We cannot compromise our foreign policies,” he said.