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Dunya rejoins Yameen’s government

Gayoom has denounced his daughter’s shock return, saying he does not support her decision



Dunya Maumoon has rejoined President Abdulla Yameen’s government as a junior minister for health, the president’s office has announced.

The former foreign minister had resigned from her uncle’s cabinet in July after her father, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, split with Yameen accusing his half-brother’s administration of authoritarian reversals and corruption.

Gayoom denounced his eldest daughter’s shock return in a tweet.

“Dunya’s return to the government is her personal choice. I do not support her decision,” he said.

Dunya’s twin sister, Yumna Maumoon, meanwhile pledged to “remain steadfast” by Gayoom’s side on “the righteous path.”

The president’s spokesman said Dunya was appointed as state minister for health. She will be deputy to Health Minister Abdulla Nazim.

Dunya was not responding to calls for comment, but said in a tweet: “I have chosen to accept the position of State Minister at the Ministry of Health. Look forward to serve the citizens of Maldives.”

Gayoom’s youngest son, Ghassan Maumoon, has also taken Yameen’s side and remains a junior minister at the president’s office.

Both Dunya and Ghassan had signed a petition urging Gayoom, the president of the Progressive Party of the Maldives, to award Yameen the party’s presidential ticket for the 2018 polls without a primary. Gayoom refused.

Then in June, the long rumoured rift broke into the open when Gayoom’s son, MP Faris Maumoon, was expelled from the Progressive Party of the Maldives for voting against a government-sponsored bill to allow the sale of islands without a bidding process.

Gayoom subsequently suspended the party’s governing council and announced a roadmap to reform the PPM.

Dunya resigned shortly afterwards, citing opposition to Yameen’s plans to introduce the death penalty, but made no mention of the power struggle between the Gayoom brothers. On the same day, she joined Twitter.

In the ensuing month, she criticised, in carefully worded tweets, the Yameen administration’s passing of a law re-criminalising defamation, and backed her father’s effort reform agenda for the ruling party as well as the Commonwealth’s demands to resolve the crisis in the Maldives, which included inclusive dialogue and release of jailed opposition leaders.

In October, when Maldives quit the Commonwealth, she said she was “saddened” but “not surprised” and appeared at her father’s side in public when he withdrew his support for Yameen after the president’s faction of the PPM won a legal bid effectively stripping Gayyom of the party’s presidency and took over the party’s databases and assets.

On Yameen’s third anniversary in office, she tweeted: “3 years of PPM Government; time for an honest analysis of achievements and challenges. Much more work to be done! Sad to see status of PPM!”