Yameen faction expels Gayoom from PPM

Yameen faction expels Gayoom from PPM
March 28 17:30 2017

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has been expelled from the Progressive Party of Maldives, a party he founded and has led since late 2011.

The expulsion comes after Gayoom formed an alliance with former President Mohamed Nasheed and other opposition leaders “to work together to restore democracy” and sought unsuccessfully to dismantle the pro-government parliamentary majority.

The PPM’s ethics committee, whose legitimacy has been disputed by Gayoom supporters, expelled the 79-year-old on Monday night after considering a resolution forwarded by the party’s council, which accused him of “working with the opposition to overthrow the lawful government.”

The resolution was approved at an emergency council meeting presided over by his half-brother President Abdulla Yameen on Sunday.

Gayoom responded by tweeting: “Dharubaaru faction has no legal standing and cannot dismiss members from PPM. With the Grace of Allah I continue to be a member of PPM and its sole elected leader.”

Yameen’s faction of the divided ruling party was derisively dubbed the “Dharubaaru faction” after the state-owned Dharubaaruge convention centre was leased to set up a campaign office in October.

The PPM was split into rival factions when Gayoom was stripped of his leadership role by the civil court, which ordered Yameen, the party’s chief advisor, to resume council meetings under his leadership.

The executive council, a majority of which is controlled by Yameen’s loyalists, promptly put the president in charge of the party. But Gayoom remained defiant, insisting that the party’s charter prohibits the chief advisor from active involvement in managing the party.

He also held council meetings with loyalists, appointed new deputies and a secretary-general, and suspended the five-member ethics committee.

Gayoom’s supporters insist that he cannot be expelled by either the council or the ethics committee.

According to the PPM’s charter, the party’s president can only be removed if a majority of delegates vote in favour of a no-confidence motion at a national congress.

The resolution for Gayoom’s dismissal was submitted by MP Ibrahim Falah, deputy leader of the PPM’s parliamentary group, who vowed to remove him from the PPM’s presidency on Saturday.

The resolution accused Gayoom of advocacy against the PPM’s principles and ideology on social media and other platforms, “promoting the opposition’s ideology against the party’s objectives, rules, and ideology” and misleading the public with false claims about “big and important projects carried out by the government”.

Gayoom also “authorised the use of the party’s flag and seal by various people without the party’s approval” and continued to exercise administrative powers after “openly defying the civil court judgment”.

On Tuesday, the ethics committee also decided to expel MP Mohamed Ameeth from the PPM for not voting against Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed’s no-confidence motion on Monday, despite a three-line whip issued by the party’s parliamentary group.

Ameeth had declared that he would vote to impeach Maseeh. “I urge my fellow colleagues to do so in order to discharge our national and moral duty rightly. Fear none, but Allah,” he tweeted.

On Tuesday afternoon, Ameeth said he attended the committee, but the chairman “didn’t prove its legality and discontinued the committee.”

Earlier this week, the ethics committee also expelled MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim from the PPM. The lawyer was among the ruling party lawmakers who sided with Gayoom in the PPM leadership dispute and stood by the former president’s side when other MPs returned to Yameen’s faction.

Ali Waheed, chairman of the ethics committee, told the Maldives Independent on Sunday that Waheed was expelled for repeatedly breaching the parliamentary group’s whip line.

He accused Waheed of “working with the opposition to obstruct the government”.

In June last year, Gayoom’s son MP Faris Maumoon was expelled by the ethics committee for voting against a government-sponsored bill at his father’s behest.

Shortly thereafter, Gayoom suspended the PPM council and launched an agenda to reform the PPM, accusing ruling party lawmakers of facilitating corruption and undermining the democratic reforms he initiated in 2004.

Gayoom withdrew support for his half-brother’s administration in late October.