Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ibra for president

Ibrahim Ismail, high-profile MP and leader of the Social Liberal Party, early this morning mass-texted Maldivians to announce his intention to run for the country's top job. Ibra is making the announcement less than a week after a parliamentarian committee he is chairing grilled police commissioner or "chief torturer" Adam Zahir over the treatment of detainees, particularly the custodial deaths of Hussain Solah and Muaviath Mahmood.

Ibra has been trying to address issues and bring change from within the framework of the parliament and the constitutional assembly, and has a high-level of support among discerning Maldivians. Moreover, he is easily the best orator amidst the "reformists" and "politicians" that have cropped up in post-Eavan Naseem Maldives. 

Ibra beat Munnavar and Zaki to become MDP's first president, but was later  isolated within the party due to differences with its chairman and populist trends.  Some have commented that Gayoom's two ex-ministers cajoled Anni into making things so difficult for Ibra that he was eventually forced to leave. 

But Ibra's commitment to human rights, particularly gender equality, has been questioned. When an MDP member introduced a bill banning women from running for presidency, Ibra chose to play safe by voting neutral. People who have worked with him claim that he considers women inferior to men; he has reportedly remarked to people that he believes women are unsuitable to be the leader of a country because they are "easier to manipulate". 

Ibra has also repeatedly opposed the freedom of religion. Islam, he has publicly stated, must remain state religion, and the country's growing and, largely, closeted non-Muslims are understandably concerned about such attitudes coming from a leader of a party that calls itself social "liberal" party. 

But with the right campaign, Ibra could well win the hearts and minds of a population not only disillusioned with Gayoom's dictatorship, but fed up of its fragmented opposition.


MrMaldivian said...

and here I thought somebody forged my signature to be his party member and he had smsed an invitation for his meeting, It has happened before so will check it out with the commission as soon as its open

Anonymous said...

SMS is sent not only to party members, but to all listed mobile numbers.

Anonymous said...

Then how come I didn't get one?

Anonymous said...

Ibra is an excellent parliamentarian. This is something that anyone who watches the Majlis regularly (or even occassionally) will have realised.

However, I question whether he would make a good president. He is reputed to be quite difficult to work with. His alleged "hudhmukhthaar-ness" saw him alienate his frontbench team which is why he was forced to resign as party president. His inability to garner 3,000 genuine signatories to his party is also worrying (in the sense that you wonder how many votes he would get in a general election).

Having said all this, I still hope he runs a good campaign and demonstrates that he has learned from previous mistakes. I am desperate for a decent candidate to support in October.

dr munavvar supporter said...

A decent candidate to support is Dr Munavvar. He will be the next president.

Anonymous said...

nobody is shocked by Ibra's views on women and religion? welly welly well! morality needs no religion and so it is no organized religion that made us aware of inherent rights.. .what can you expect from a bunch of people following a pervert 'married' to a little girl.. and he certainly did not abolish slavery... one can always make excuses claiming that he initiated the movement..hogwash! Praise be to Dawkins!!!