Wathan Edhey Gothah Coalition has revealed to the media a document they say is an agreement between President Gayoom's DRP and his brother Abdulla Yamin's PA, detailing their plans to share power if Gayoom wins the election on 28th October. The 'leaked' agreement raises several questions: First, is it genuine? And if so, what's the significance?
At a joint news conference held to announce the coalition between DRP and PA at Dharubaaruge on 22 September, DRP Spokesman Ibrahim Shafiu referred to an 'agreement.' When asked whether the cooperation between the two parties was conditional on including PA ministers in the cabinet, Shafiu said in Dhivehi, "the two leaders will continue to give the details. Here we have a basic agreement. What I want to say is that it cannot be ruled out. And if it happens DRP will welcome it. That's because PA includes senior leaders who brought DRP into being in its formative stages. It will be an honor if one of them sits in a seat of our government." Two significant points may be inferred from Shaifu's statement:
- On 22 September there was a written agreement between the two parties. (Written because people normally don't use the word agreement when speaking in Dhivehi unless there was a written document.)
- The agreement at that stage did not include details of sharing cabinet seats, details of which would continue to be given by the two leaders. (The use of the continuous tense suggests an ongoing negotiation process.)
The document revealed to the media did not bear signatures. This does not prove it is fake. But it does prove one thing: Even if it is genuine it is merely a draft. This would again appear to point towards an ongoing negotiation process. Thus (assuming the document is genuine) there could have been later drafts and a possible signed final agreement. One thing is certain: What is in front of the media is certainly not the signed final agreement. At best it is a genuine draft.
The date on the revealed document is 1 September 2008, which is 3 weeks before the Dharubaaruge news conference. If Shafiu was telling the truth on 22 September that no agreement was still reached, what was the reason for this prolonged delay? Negotiation failure? If that is the case, could this be the initial starting proposal submitted by PA, which was ultimately rejected by DRP? (All this is supposing the draft is authentic).
What really is the document revealed by the Wathan Edhey Coalition? While there are many possibilities, the following 4 stand out:
- A draft leaked by an opposition sympathizer in either the DRP or PA camp.
- A fake document produced by the opposition to discredit DRP.
- A draft leaked by DRP, the motive being to scuttle negotiations that are not going its way.
- A draft leaked by PA (No plausible motive visible at present).
If genuine, the agreement will allow Abdulla Yamin to control the economic sectors of Maldives, with his PA controlling 25 percent of Gayoom's cabinet. Yamin will head a super ministry –economic and tourism development –and have veto power over financial decisions.
Should the public be worried?
According to Dr. Jameel of the Watthan Edhey Coalition, the agreement violates the Constitution. He says it delegates some of the powers of the president and the cabinet to Yamin and a 6-member committee.
Deputy Media Manager of Maumoon 2008 campaign Ali Waheed has said the 'leaked' document was not genuine. However he also pointed out that there was nothing wrong with forging a coalition agreement among political parties.