“If it is democracy they want, they should adhere to democratic principles and use this opportunity,” Fisheries Minister Dr Mohamed Shainee, the government’s chief negotiator, told newsmen only days after the failed no-trust vote against Speaker Maseeh. Invitations have been sent out urging opposition parties to revive the failed talks, he said adding, “The government does not hesitate to negotiate with the opposition. We are confident that our actions are in accordance with the laws and regulations for the benefit of the people.”
However, the Opposition had a different tale to tell. “It has become a big joke,” the Leader of the Opposition in the People’s Majlis, Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Solih, belonging to the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), told a joint news conference. “Whenever the opposition steps up our activities of holding the government to account, they start talking about talks,” he said.
Speaking for the Gayoom faction of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), parliamentarian Faaris Maumoon clarified that the Opposition would not decline an invitation for dialogue. However, his father and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom should be allowed to nominate PPM representative for the all-party talks, he said. Against this, Ibu Solih clarified that they would consider joining the talks if and only former Presidents Gayoom and MDP’s Mohammed Nasheed were allowed to participate in any political negotiations. This has also been the one-point on which the MDP has been holding back on joining the negotiations, though Ibu himself had held preliminary negotiations with then Home Minister Umar Naseer, now in the Gayoom faction of the PPM.
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