Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has launched a fresh bid to retake control of the ruling party from his half-brother and incumbent president, Abdulla Yameen.
Gayoom, the elected leader of the Progressive Party of the Maldives, filed a petition at the civil court on October 30, asking judges to invalidate Yameen’s usurpation of the authority of the party’s leader.
The former president of 30 years maintains that Yameen, as advisor to the party, only holds a ceremonial role and is not entitled to the leadership.
The bid is likely to fail, as it was a previous civil court ruling that had paved the way for Yameen’s assumption of the party’s leadership.
Judge Mohamed Haleem, ruling in favour of two Yameen loyalists who had sought to lift Gayoom’s suspension of the party’s governing council, had ordered the council to reconvene under Yameen.
The council, of which a majority are loyal to Yameen, voted to place the president in charge.
The ruling effectively stripped Gayoom of his powers, and split the ruling party into fully-fledged factions with rival councils, secretariats, and disciplinary committees.
It appears that Yameen has won the civil war, obtaining supreme court support for the ruling that placed him in charge, and winning back lawmakers who threw their weight behind Gayoom by allegedly cracking down on their businesses.
Gayoom has publicly withdrawn support for Yameen, accusing him of authoritarianism and corruption.
The Yameen faction’s disciplinary committee has meanwhile expelled Gayoom’s daughters, Dunya Maumoon and Yumna Maumoon from the council. Yumna’s husband, Mojamed Nadheem and Athifa Shakoor, sister or Legal Affairs Minister Azima Shakoor’s, were also removed.
It had also previously expelled other Gayoom loyalists, including his eldest son, MP Faris Maumoon.
Gayoom’s youngest son, Ghassan Maumoon, appears to have sided with his uncle, attending the Yameen faction’s council meetings over that held his father. Yameen has since promised to elect Ghassan to the parliament.
Meanwhile, Yameen’s supporters have been accused of ransacking the party’s headquarters and scrawling insults against Gayoom on its inner walls.
The war was prompted by Gayoom’s refusal to endorse Yameen for the 2018 polls, and intensified when the disciplinary committee expelled his son in June.