President Solih, Nasheed and party chairperson Fayyaz Ismail at the MDP congress held in August 2022. Photo/Dhauru

Nasheed slams President Solih for 'trying to consolidate power'

"After the chairperson's election, there was no way [President Solih] could turn. These last five years had unravelled in a devastating way," Nasheed said.

2 December 2022

By Mohamed Muzayyin Nazim

Speaker Mohamed Nasheed lashed out at his longtime friend and ally President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih publicly for the first time on Thursday, saying since assuming presidency, President Solih had tried to consolidate power.

Nasheed’s direct attack on President Solih was in response to a question sent by a member of the public during the 'Ask Speaker' programme held at the Parliament this Thursday afternoon.

In response to the question whether Speaker Nasheed now regretted handing over the presidential ticket to President Solih on a tray in 2018, Nasheed said that he had always tried to implement democratic principles in the Maldives and carry on with the governance of the country in such a way that the people could prosper. But now in this regime, things are not going as expected, he said.

"I am concerned about the debt issue and the default. I am concerned about the depletion of state reserves and the power to push up prices of commodities within the economy and these kinds of issues," he said, criticising the government's economic policies.

On Solih, who was a close friend in the past and now politically divided, Nasheed said the president had "worked closely with me until 2019 after coming to power". However, he later acknowledged that their relationship had soured.

"It's also the nature of power. He made efforts to accumulate more power, to consolidate power. To my observation, he was at it until the middle of this year," Nasheed said.

"However, the formation of another network while MDP exists did not seem to me to be an easy task for the president"

President Solih received the MDP presidential ticket in 2018 after Nasheed, who won the MDP primary by contesting alone, was unable to contest the presidential election due to his prison sentence. With Nasheed's support, Solih was given the party's presidential ticket at the MDP Congress in AA. Ukulhas.

Responding further to the question, Nasheed said that president Solih had realised that his efforts to consolidate power would not succeed in the party's chairperson elections held in May.

Economic minister Fayyaz Ismail, who contested the election with the support of President Solih, received 58% of the votes. MP Imthiyaz Fahmy of Maafannu North constituency, who contested with Nasheed's support, received nearly 27,000 votes or 42% of the votes.

Nasheed made the reference to the chairperson's election in an apparent reference to Imthiyaz’s vote in the election and to show that there were supporters of Nasheed as well within the party.

"After the chairperson's election, there was no way [President Solih] could turn. These last five years had unravelled in a devastating way," Nasheed said.

 Nasheed's efforts to transform the country's governance system into a parliamentary one has severed the ties between the two competing leaders. Nasheed has been openly criticising the government lately at various forums. However, president Solih has not been so directly addressed before.