MNP's Parliamentary Group will continue to grow: MP Riyaz

Maldives National Party (MNP) will continue to grow, with more parliamentarians joining the party, the party's Parliamentary Group Leader and Vice President, Abdulla Riyaz, has said.

The Elections Commission gave permission to form MNP as a political party in July this year. The party was officially registered as a political party on October 25, following which the parliament recognized the three parliamentarians from MNP as representatives of the party. In addition to Riyaz, the party's President and Dhangethi MP Mohamed Nazim and party's Vice President and Vilimale' MP Ahmed Usham represent the party in the parliament.

Speaking on AVAS Online's 'Suvaalakahfahu Suvaaleh program, MP Riyaz said the party would offer many opportunities and be the only party where independent ideologies and differences of opinion are welcome. He also entertained the possibility of the independent members who sit on the Parliament joining MNP.

Addressing rumors that MNP was established as a 'backup' party of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih amid friction within the main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Riyaz said the party was not established to support President Solih. MNP's policies are to work for the rights of the people, said Riyaz. The party has no political connection to either MDP or the opposing Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), he said.

'Our direction is apparent to us. In 2023, we will bring forth a [presidential] candidate. This party is a backup of no one. We have come forward with entirely new ideologies. Truthfully speaking, the two main political parties of the Maldives have failed in delivering to the country's citizens', Riyaz said.

The 2023 presidential candidate who will represent the party will be selected through a special primary among party members, said Riyaz. There is no circumstance that would not allow the party to put forth a candidate, he added.

'I do not believe we will face any such circumstance,' Riyaz said when asked if the party would back a candidate from another party.

Riyaz also shed light on President Solih's recent visit to his constituency and said there is no significance to the president spending the night at his guesthouse during the trip. Riyaz said President Solih is a friend, although he is not politically aligned with the president. Politics and friendship do not go hand in hand, he further said.

'The truth is, there is no relationship between MNP and President Solih. Our political work has no links to the president. President Solih is a close friend of mine. When we worked with MDP in the past, I was the deputy of the PG group which President Solih then led],' said Riyaz.