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Maldives President Nasheed retaliates against JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim

Male', Maldives.

President Nasheed today took retaliatory action against Leader of Jumhooree Party (Republican Party), Gasim Ibrahim.

Just hours after Gasim Ibrahim warned President Nasheed that he would not stand aside and watch him destroy the Maldives, Nasheed has ordered the closure of spa facilities at Gasim's resort Paradise Island. Nasheed's closure order was made on trumped up charges of "suspected" prostitution activities at the spa facilities.

'We will not stand aside and allow you to destroy our nation. Do not even think that you can do it", said Gasim last night, speaking on a political analysis program (Fasmanzaru) on independent TV channel VTV. Gasim Ibrahim is one of the most respected businessmen and philanthropist in the country with a strong populist following amongst the citizenry. Gasim Ibrahim was also the Speaker of the last Constitutional Assembly which passed the current Constitution of the Maldives.

Gasim's strong condemnation of President Nasheed and his corrupt government has received much support in media and across the country. The Maldives is presently in a period of civic unrest and protest against Nasheed, culminating in 20,000 strong civic protest on Dec 23, 2011 in Male'.

Nasheed's attack on Gasim's business operations comes immediately after Gasim declared that he was not afraid that his property may be confiscated by the Nasheed regime.

"I am not afraid. I am not deterred by any few that my property may be confiscated or any other attack. We have had more than enough. Enough is enough", declared the popular businessman on last night's program.

Pulling in his financial and follower base, Gasim almost single handedly brought in over 60,000 votes which carried Nasheed into power in the second round of the Presidential elections, 2008. Gasim resigned from his post as Nasheed's Home Minister, claiming divergent political views between himself and Nasheed.

As partisan lines are drawn between competing political parties in readiness for the Presidency 2013, including President Nasheed's Maldives Democratic Party, it becomes apparent that Gasim Ibrahim is destined to have a crucial role in presidential candidates and the presidential vote itself.

Speculations that the largest opposition party, Dhivehi Raiyyithunge Party (DRP), may enter into coalition with MDP for the 2013 elections were put to rest at the Civic Protest on December 23rd, 2011 when DRP Leader Thasmeen Ali publicly committed himself and his party to opposing President Nasheed and his regime.

This puts DRP and its breakaway faction, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) led by ex-President and ex-DRP Leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, in an uneasy collaboration, one which requires a moderator. With Gasim's Jumhooree Party and Adhaalath Party emerging as the contenders for this moderating role, it is more probable that the winner would be Gasim Ibrahim and his party. Indeed, coming days will most likely show the opposing coalition will shape up.

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