President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said on Tuesday that if other political parties in the current coalition administration cannot work together until the end of the agreed-upon five-year presidential term, then they have to end the agreement.
The current administration was established in 2018, with a coalition led by the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP), along with the Jumhooree Party (JP), Adhaalath Party, and Maldives Reform Movement (MRM). While President Solih had invited the current coalition parties to extend their support to him once again so that he may secure a second term in office, JP announced last week that they would run for office with their own presidential candidate.
They have also started efforts to form their own coalition with JP as the leading party.
During this presidential term, JP had secured various posts in the cabinet and the government as stipulated in the coalition agreement. However, the party has been expressing their displeasure over not getting the required number of posts within the government.
Despite these concerns, the current Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation, the Minister for Tourism, and the Minister for Fisheries, Marine Resources, and Agriculture are all JP members. Since JP has announced they will run for presidency separately, MDP members have been calling to dismiss current JP members in political posts.
Responding to questions from reporters after a meeting between the Adhaalath Party and the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), which have agreed to form an alliance with the MDP for the upcoming presidential elections in September, the president hinted that he would not be able to keep JP in the government if they contested separately.
He said the ruling coalition would not be able to fulfill its pledges if the parties in the current coalition decided to separate and contest independently. He also said they would not be able to campaign for the election alongside people with different beliefs as well.
Stating that he has already formed new alliances with the Adhaalath Party and MDA, he said that a decision on JP has not yet been made. He said he was still waiting for the JP's response to his invitation to form a coalition.
"You have to accept that if there are people with a difference of opinion, we will not be able to proceed while they are there when decisions are being made," the President said.
He said the 2018 agreement with the parties in the ruling coalition states that they will stay together till the end of the term, but if they cannot stay together during the presidential elections, it will have to be terminated.
The president said he had spoken to JP leader Qasim Ibrahim on the issue. He said he had asked him how to proceed in the remaining period.
President Solih did not provide Qasim's response on the matter. He said he has not yet made a decision regarding the JP leader.
"If we, Adhaalath Party, MRM, and Jumhooree Party, are fielding candidates from each party, it means there will be differences of opinion as the campaign progresses," he said.
Earlier in the day, the President met with Adhaalath Party and MDA at Muliaage, the official residence of the president, and discussed the launch of the campaign. He has also decided to work out a manifesto with both parties.
President Solih hints at ending coalition agreement if parties contest separately