Pres Solih sidesteps coalition row

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih stated on Thursday that he does not believe there are any conflicts among the coalition leaders.

Coalition partners, main ruling party Maldivian Democratic Party and Juhooree Party have remained at loggerheads over contesting the upcoming parliamentary elections through the same coalition which saw them win the presidential elections in November last year.

Instead of resolving the dispute, both parties have been engaging in open verbal warfare against their supposed colleagues.

When asked regarding the issues existing between the coalition at a press conference on Thursday, Solih admitted the existence of an agreement made between the coalition leaders before forming their alliance ahead of the 2018 presidential elections.

The President also confirmed that seperate agreements exist between himself and MDP, JP and Adhaalath Party on how to tackle the pariamentary election and local council elections. However, no such agreement exists between himself and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom, who is also a coalition partner, who had refused to sign a formal agreement due to a dispute over the agreement terms.

Therefore, a multi-party agreement between the coalition partners on how to strategize the parliamentary elections does not exist, said the President.

The coalition parties had previously agreed to contest both the parliamentary election and the local council elections through the coalition in order to ensure maximum number of seats.

According to the original agreement, main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) will contest for 35 seats while Jumhoory Party, Maumoon Reform Movement and Adhaalath Party will contest for 22, 17 and 13 seats respectively.

However, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) decided at its National Council to contest for all 87 constituencies in the parliamentary election, despite the existing coalition agreement to divide up the seats among themselves.

The four leaders of the coalition have sat down several times with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in attempt to resolve the dispute. However, an agreement has not been reached thus far.

While the disputes over the parliamentary election seem to have triggered an intra-coalition mayhem, President Solih continued to sidestep reporters' continous questions on the dispute, by stressing the importance of a pro-government parliament majority in order to achieve the milestones set by the government.

"I speak with the coalition leaders multiple times every day over several issues. I don't see a conflict, none of the partners are hindering the running of the government in any way. They provide me with good counsel and ideas. That is what I am working with", said the President.

President Solih expressed confidence that the coalition could continue to maintain the alliance, and downplayed intracoalition feuding by insisting that he believes all coalition partners would continue working within the coalition, noting that no party has committed any acts that may jeorpadize the alliance.

The government is working on establishing coalition resolutions and the coalition government structure in the form of a law, revealed the President futher. The matter has been included in the legislative agenda in order to make a constitutional amendment, until which the coalition parties have agreed to make do with a law stating the same.

The President further added that a meeting between the coalition leaders will be arranged after his official visit to Sri Lanka next week.