Coalition deal should be scrapped if parties can't stay together, Pres says
"However, if we can't sit together when the next presidential elections are round the corner, it's in my opinion that the agreement has to end", said Solih.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said on Tuesday that if the ruling coalition parties are unable to stay together as agreed upon, the agreement will have no purpose and the agreement should be terminated from there.
Refusing to accept the president's invitation to maintain the alliance for a second term, business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim's Jumhooree Party (JP) has decided to field its own candidate for the presidential race. Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's Maldives Reform Movement (MRM) is yet to decide on the president's invitation.
This raises questions about whether the current alliance will survive.
Speaking to reporters after meeting with leaders of Adhaalath Party and MDA at the presidential residence of Muleeage Tuesday afternoon, President Solih said that if the ruling coalition parties field their own candidates for the 9 September election, there would be differences of opinion during the campaign.
"That doesn't mean I have decided whether to take action against the Jumhooree Party. However, one has to accept that when you are in a group of dissenting opinions [when you take decisions], it doesn't happen that way," he said.
President Solih said that the agreement reached between the ruling parties was to stay together till the end of the five-year term.
"However, if we can't sit together when the next presidential elections are round the corner, it's in my opinion that the agreement has to be brought to an end," he said.
"That doesn't mean there is no alliance. The agreement should be enforced. If it is not implemented, there is no point in it."
'Waiting to get an official reply from JP'
"I have discussed it with the Jumhooree Party leader and how the next part will proceed. We are yet to take a decision on it," the president said.
While there have been rumours that Jumhooree Party and MRM are planning to work together for the presidential election, President Solih said he is yet to receive an official response from JP for his invitation to form an alliance with MDP.
"However, it has now been announced that the Jumhooree Party will contest separately. My belief, and I have stayed put on the note that Jumhooree Party will respond to that request of ours in an official form," he said.
"If the Jumhooree Party and MRM are with us and follow the same vision in the future, I can win this election easily."
Senior leaders of JP and MRM met on Monday and held election discussions.