The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) has collected 52 signatures on a motion to impeach detained Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, just five votes short of the number required to remove him through a formal vote.
The motion, filed at the People’s Majlis today, was signed by MPs of the PPM, its ally Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) and some MPs of the Jumhooree Party (JP).
Some 29 signatures are required for the Majlis to consider the motion. Before the Majlis can hold a formal vote, it has to provide Adeeb a 14-day period to respond.
Adeeb was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of links to the September 28 explosion on President Abdulla Yameen’s boat. The government says the blast was an assassination attempt. The president escaped unhurt.
PPM initiated the motion after Yameen accused Adeeb of obstructing the inquiry into the boat blast by bribing the police force.
Yameen also claimed that Adeeb had approached the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and PPM MPs to impeach him. But the president said he would not initiate a no-confidence motion against Adeeb.
A two-third majority or 57 votes of the 85-member house are required to impeach the vice president. The PPM holds 44 seats, MDA 5 seats, JP 11 seats, while the MDP controls 21 seats and the Adhaalath Party holds one seat.
PPM MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla told the Maldives Independent that no MDP MP had signed the motion. He declined to give a breakdown of the exact numbers from each party.
It appears that a few PPM MPs did not sign the motion. MP Mohamed Musthafa was suspended from the PPM when he refused to sign the petition, according to local news website CNM.
There are three independent MPs in the Majlis; two of them are former PPM MPs, and the other is a former MDP MP.
In July, when former Vice President Mohamed Jameel Ahmed was removed, the PPM-dominated parliament had amended the parliament’s standing orders so that an investigation by a select committee was not required before impeaching the vice president.
Adeeb was meanwhile expelled from the PPM last night.
In a brief statement, the PPM said its disciplinary committee had ruled that Adeeb had violated the party’s principles and ideology, but gave no details.
Adeeb was elected as PPM’s deputy leader in January 2013.
He has denied any involvement in the boat blast. His lawyer Hussain Shameem has claimed there is no evidence to keep Adeeb detained, except a secret police intelligence report.
Since the boat blast, several top government officials, seen as loyal to Adeeb, have been sacked.