JP's Ali Hussain speaking at a press conference held by the opposition coalition on the issue of separation of the waters between the Maldives and Chagos. Dhauru Photo/Hussain Sunain

JP members will join Chagos rally despite Gasim's objection, alliance says

ITLOS' decision in April has led to opposition claims that part of the southern economic zone has been lost.

1 June 2023

By Mariyam Umna Ismail

Although Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim has appealed to the members of JP not to participate in Friday’s rally against the International Tribunal for the Laws of the Seas (ITLOS) verdict in the delimitation of the territorial waters between the Maldives and Chagos, many of his party members will attend the rally, the opposition alliance organising the rally said on Thursday.

ITLOS' decision in April has led to opposition claims that part of the southern economic zone has been lost, and the opposition has been fighting against the government by forming an alliance, which includes former ministers and attorney generals in addition to political parties.

JP, which has decided to contest the upcoming presidential election separately even if it is part of the ruling coalition, also opposed the government's stand in the issue. However, on Tuesday, Gasim urged the party not to take part in the protest led by the opposition coalition, saying his decision was "based on past experiences". 

Replying to a question on whether the party would participate in the meeting despite Gasim's appeal, vice-president of opposition PPM Ahmed Shiyam said that JP is already working with the alliance.

"I believe that the Jumhooree Party will support us as they always had when we started this initiative," the Naifaru MP said at the press conference where no one from JP participated.

Referring to JP's stand on the Chagos issue, he said the ITLOS verdict would be detrimental to the people and he believed that JP would stand with the alliance. 

MNP vice-president, Villimale MP Ahmed Usham also said that despite Gasim's appeal, the party's council members were also working with the alliance in an informal manner.

He was reluctant to comment on reports that JP was divided on the issue.