Nasheed and Gasim at JP's national conference. Dhauru Photo/Abdullah Iyaan

Gasim signals breakdown in talks with Nasheed for 'wanting power for himself'

Gasim said Nasheed had told him that he was the best person to come to power after Nasheed's defeat in the presidential primary.

3 June 2023

By Mohamed Muzayyin Nazim

JP leader and presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim said on Friday that speaker Mohamed Nasheed does not want anyone other than himself to come to power, and that was not what Gasim wanted.

Gasim gave an interview via his own TV station, VTV, to send a message ahead of an opposition rally Friday evening over the delimitation of the territorial waters between the Maldives and Chagos. 

Gasim, who had praised Nasheed at the Jumhooree Party's national conference three months ago, had criticised him in the interview on Friday.

One of the two main questions posed by the journalist in the online interview from his resort Sun Island was related to the Jumhooree Party's discussions with Nasheed's Fikuregge Dhirun faction.

Responding to the question, Gasim said Nasheed had told him that he was the best person to come to power after Nasheed's defeat in the presidential primary to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. However, Gasim made the remarks on Friday, indicating that he did not trust Nasheed even at that time.

"I knew what president Nasheed was talking about. I know president Nasheed very well. He doesn't want anyone other than himself in power in the country. He can't stand giving that opportunity to anyone else," he said in response to a question on Nasheed-led The Democrats party's decision to contest the presidential elections while negotiating with JP.

Gasim said that most Maldivians and politicians are well aware of what Nasheed is saying, how he behaves and how he will behave.

"Most definitely I know more so than most about how president Nasheed will behave, what kind of person he is going to be... I knew when he was doing all along, I sat there smiling. Then I told [Nasheed] that I did not even have the money to do it," he said.

"Then if [Nasheed] keeps on talking about it while even in parliament all the time, I would have to say something, right?"

Gasim said his company was also "struggling" due to the financial losses suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic. While he is yet to recover from the financial crisis, he said that he was also getting too old to run for president. 

Despite these hurdles, he decided to contest the election because party members wanted it, Gasim said.

Nasheed's Fikuregge Dhirun faction, in a discussion with Gasim's Jumhooree Party, submitted proposals in April to change the system of governance. As soon as the proposals were submitted, the talks between the two sides had stalled.

"Going by the paper he submitted, I see that I am the one who is paving the way for him to come to power," Gasim said.

Gasim reiterated on Friday:

  • It is not a systemic problem 

  • The problem is the lack of sincerity of those in power 

  • He does not want to accept Nasheed's offer 

"I couldn't work with the Fikuregge Dhirun faction of President Nasheed, the proposal they submitted, which says that I should do it as efforts to give President Nasheed power. It wasn't something I was planning to do. I didn't want to say anything. I haven't even responded," he said, pointing out that Nasheed was neither close nor distant to him.

"I am not the kind of person to dance to anyone’s drumbeat like a dumbo."

In the rifts between President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Nasheed, if Nasheed leaves MDP and forms an alliance with Gasim, he will get the title of "the person who destroyed MDP", Gasim said.

"I am the first person to sign up to form MDP. It’s not something president Nasheed did because he had the courage. I did it," he said in the nearly half-an-hour long interview.

"I don't want to wear the title of the person who destroyed MDP. I don't want to be captain of a ship where my word does not hold sway. I don't want to see anything against Islam going on."

At the same time, he said, "I [and] Jumhooree Party does not want to lose even a square inch of land or sea or any part of the country. I stand that way today, and it's going to be the same tomorrow."

He assured the people that no matter how much the government bothered him and even "detsroys" his Villa company, his national vision will not change.