Qasim reiterates firm stance against changing government system

Qasim Ibrahim, the leader of the Jumhooree Party (JP), has firmly rejected the proposal put forward by Fikuregge Dhirun, a rogue faction within the main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), to transition the country's government system from a presidential to a parliamentary system.

Earlier in February, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih competed against MDP President and Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed for the MDP's presidential ticket. Following President Solih's victory in the primary, Nasheed formed his own faction within the MDP, adopting the "Fikuregge Dhirun" slogan he previously used during the primary campaign. Nasheed has since declined to endorse President Solih for the September election.

While the Jumhooree Party remains part of the current ruling coalition, it has decided to contest the September presidential election separately. Nasheed's team has been engaging in discussions with JP officials to explore possibilities for cooperation in the upcoming election. One of the proposals presented by Nasheed's team was the transition from a presidential to a parliamentary system if Qasim were to be elected president.

A source from the Jumhooree Party quoted Qasim as expressing his opposition to changing the government system, citing the party name "Jumhooree"'s association with a presidential system. The source revealed that Qasim emphasized that the existing government system was determined through a popular vote after the adoption of the current Green constitution, which he played a significant role in drafting.

"In the first seven days of Shawwal, Qasim held a breakfast meeting with senior JP leaders at Paradise Resort. During that meeting, he reiterated that our party name refers to a republic, and therefore, the party cannot support a parliamentary system. He hinted at the possibility of inviting Nasheed to join the Jumhooree Party," the source disclosed.

The source further indicated that Nasheed's team was aware of Qasim's stance against changing the government system. However, discussions between the Jumhooree Party and President Nasheed's team are ongoing to find common ground on other issues.

Qasim has consistently refused to support the transition to a parliamentary system in the past, expressing his views in public forums. In contrast, Nasheed openly advocates for such a system but has found little support from President Solih, who has stated that it is not a priority for his administration.