Male’, Maldives – President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said that governments cabinet slot allocation was changed after discussions with coalition parties and that the coalition will last throughout his presidential term.
President Solih went into detail on coalition operations during a special interview to RajjeTV.
He said that many coalition leaders have been very busy, and specially due to COVID-19 , all leaders have not been able attend a meeting together, but that he has spoken to all of them and discussed the matter over the phone.
He noted that he has had discussions with the leaders of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Maldives Reform Movement (MRM), Jumhooree Party (JP) and the Adhaalath Party (AP).
The president debunked what many people have said on the difficulty of running a coalition government, saying that it is not hard. President Solih explained that in his political career, he has always discussed with multiple people for work and that his competitive peers were no exception.
“During the 25 years I have served in Parliament, I haven’t met a single MP who hasn’t had an issue with me, and I don’t believe there’s such a person in the whole political scene” President Solih told.
He underlined that, like his established character, he has worked by cooperating with multiple individuals. He also told that this was the major reason MDP gave him their presidential ticket for the 2018 elections.
“I do not leave out or push away someone from discussions, I always make decisions after conversing, this includes people who are with us in the coalition and who are not. As such, I do not find it hard to continue with this coalition” President told.
As President Solih nears 2 years in office, 4 Ministers in his cabinet have changed and changes have come to slots in 3 Ministries assigned to coalition parties.
The president said that there is an agreement on giving positions to coalition parties but that in certain cases, changes have been made to this agreement,
“When such a case happens, I take the decision after discussing with a leader of the relevant party” President Solih said.
President Solih highlighted that Adaalath Party’s Gender Ministry slot was changed with AP leader and Home Minister Imran Abdhulla’s consent and MRM’s Housing Ministry slot was changed with MRM leader Maumoon Abdul-Gayyoom’s approval.
While the Minister of Tourism changed, the position was given to JP , who previously had the slot. However, JP’s Health Ministry slot was taken and the position was given to an MDP member. The President said that JP leader Qasim Ibrahim wanted a JP member as the new Minister of Health and even sent in names but he wanted someone more capable for the position given the current circumstances.
“After he (Qasim) sent in the names, I conversed with him again, I requested him to leave this decision to me, the ministry in question is a sector which needs my close attention and requires some changes. I asked him to let me make my choice, to which he agreed”
The President said that this shows Qasim Ibrahim’s priority for the country before himself or his party, and that he remains grateful to Qasim for the decision to this day.
President Solih concluded that he will continue with the coalition and that he will keep cooperating with leaders within the coalition and make decisions a mutual agreement is reached.