AP hits back at Nasheed over statement

Ruling coalition partner, Adhaalath Party has hit back at Speaker of the Parliament and former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed after he issued a disparaging statement against the party.

In a statement issued by Nasheed via Twitter on Saturday, Nasheed accused the religiously conservative party of 'monopolizing' the government's every decision. In the statement, Nasheed said although the main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) won the presidential election by a large margin, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has made it clear that he would allow Adhaalath, which is a minor coalition partner, to monopolize his decisions. He also said it has become clear that the current dynamics of the coalition violate every principle of MDP's representative democracy.

Nasheed also hinted that the vast majority of Maldivians are progressive and therefore do not support the ideologies of Adhaalath Party. He said that the majority of Maldivian people cherish liberty, freedom of expression, music, culture, and economic prosperity and that they hold moderate religious views. Maldivians did not vote for religious extremists who deny their liberty but instead voted for progressive candidates who share similar views to their ideologies, said Nasheed, adding that the people voted for MDP for its principles, love of freedom, equality and vibrant Maldivian culture and heritage. He further said that the government withdrew its support for its own bill on criminalizing hate crimes due to Adhaalath's influence on the government.

In response to Nasheed's statement, Adhalaath Party issued a statement on Saturday. In the statement, the party described Nasheed's accusations as an attempt to achieve political goals under a guise of freedom, equality, and economic prosperity. The party said it condemns Nasheed's statement in its entirety and that it condemns the statement especially for trying to portray the people of Maldives as extremists. The party further said it wished to bring to the attention of the international community Nasheed's efforts to undermine the legitimate authority of the Democratically elected President and the Democratic process in the Maldives.

Responding to allegations that Adhaalath Party entertains extremist views, the party said it supports and applauds the government of President Solih for meaningful steps towards solving the issue of violent extremism in the Maldives and for being the first government in the Maldives to give the issue top priority. It further noted that the President of the Adhaalath Party Sheikh Imran Abdulla as the incumbent Minister of Home Affairs is working tirelessly to implement the government’s policy against violent extremism and working closely with national and international agencies towards achieving the goal of a resilient, peaceful, and cohesive society.

'We stand firm with the government of the Maldives in its efforts to tackle violent extremism. Furthermore, we reiterate our commitment to the people of the Maldives that the Adhaalath Party will remain on its mission to ensure and defend the values and principles that it was formed upon and shall not be deterred by the smear campaigns of a few individuals', the party said in its statement.