Expelling Vice President Ahmed Adeeb from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) without an opportunity to defend himself is justified, the party’s leader and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom said today.
“According to the party’s constitution, its disciplinary committee does not have to conduct its meetings in the same manner as a trial. That decision was timely,” Gayoom told reporters at the airport, before departing to India.
Adeeb, who is also the PPM’s deputy leader, was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of links to a blast on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat on September 28. The government says the explosion was caused by a bomb targeting the president.
Gayoom, who ruled the Maldives for 30 years, is Yameen’s half-brother.
Yameen has accused his deputy of obstructing an inquiry by exerting undue influence over the police. Soon after the blast, Adeeb approached the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party and PPM MPs to impeach the president, he said.
“Attempting to remove the president while still a member of PPM is contradictory to the party’s rules,” Gayoom said.
Now, PPM has submitted motion to impeach Adeeb with 52 signatures, just five short of the 57 votes required for the motion to pass on the People’s Majlis floor.
Gayoom also expressed support for the impeachment: “I stand by this and I think this is what should be done.”
He also countered the claims by the opposition that PPM has been weakened due to Adeeb’s arrest and the sacking of several ministers.
“I don’t believe the party has weakened. The president has the power to appoint and dismiss his ministers. So when something happens he may have to sack ministers. That’s not extraordinary and I don’t think PPM has gotten weaker because of this,” Gayoom said.
Adeeb 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.
Prior to the current rift between Yameen and Adeeb, PPM had appeared split along factions loyal to Gayoom and factions loyal to Yameen and Adeeb.
At the time, Yameen and Adeeb’s supporters had backed a bill that would strip Gayoom of the PPM’s presidency. After the blast, the bill was rejected.
Some 13 party branches issued statements urging MPs to vote against the bill, while two Malé branches expressed support for the bill, stating that PPM should hand over its reins to the incumbent president. At the time, the party’s parliamentary group was unable to reach a decision even after two meetings.
Gayoom had also rejected an invitation to inaugurate a symposium to train campaign leaders for Yameen’s re-election campaign.