The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives has descended into civil war after its leader, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was stripped of all of his powers by the civil court, which also installed his half-brother and incumbent president as head of the ruling party.
Gayoom, however, remained defiant, branding the verdict unlawful and vowing to lodge an appeal.
He also appeared to rule out reconciliation with President Abdulla Yameen, saying his younger brother had refused requests for meetings for more than a year.
Below are excerpts from Gayoom’s press conference on Sunday .
On the civil court’s ruling
“Today we suddenly received a verdict from the civil court. The process by which it was issued is of concern. This verdict was supposed to be delivered during a hearing scheduled for 3:30pm. But instead, it was abruptly delivered at the hearing at 10:00 in the morning. We don’t know how this happened.
“The verdict orders the advisor of the party to hold a council meeting within 24 hours; the party’s advisor is the current president of the Maldives. We respect the advisor of the party and the president of Maldives. But this court order is not right. So with due respect to the court and the judiciary, we will appeal this ruling.
“We are asking the high court to issue a stay order on this ruling until it deliberates. Every person has the right to appeal a court verdict. So we are asking that the civil court ruling be stayed until a high court decision.
“The statutes of PPM say that its advisor has no active role in administering or making party policy. This is very clear and that is why this ruling is against the PPM’s charter.”
On withdrawing support for Yameen
“Everything will happen in its due course. If there is something that I need to do, when the time comes, I will do it. I do not have any comments on that.
The result of an election is only known to almighty Allah. Who would win or whose help would help who win. But it is true that a lot of elected officials were elected because I campaigned for them. I went with them to various islands, they came here [to the PPM office] took photos and selfies with me. I recorded messages in their support. I did all of that so they would get elected. But they don’t remember this today. That is human nature. Nevertheless, a lot of MPS were elected because of my work, because of the services I provided.
“Even the president of Maldives. This is the truth, isn’t it? I travelled with him [President Abdulla Yameen] all over the Maldives to campaign for him. In Malé as well. In the first round he won 25percent of the vote. I then worked on bringing other parties on board, especially the Jumhooree Party. I went to visit Gasim Ibrahim at his home and obtained the Jumhooree Party’s backing, and we all worked on electing Abdulla Yameen in a second round. This is history. You cannot lie about this.”
On the Yameen-faction’s betrayal and future plans for PPM
“They violated the statutes of the party. When I brought it up, they became unhappy and began levelling accusations at the president of the party. It was like a competition. A competition to see who can level the most accusations. It was very funny. I was watching and laughing. That’s how the world works,”
“It is quite sad that it has come to this. However I remain steadfast in following the statutes of the party, the constitution of the Maldives and the tenets of Islam.
“I am not going to join DRP or another party. I will remain with PPM and if the members of PPM desire so, I will remain the leader of PPM. If they want a different way, that is it. There is no problem.
On fear of persecution by Yameen
“What will happen in the future? I cannot say. What will happen tomorrow or today, I do not know. However, I am ready to face anything. I have sufficient courage. During my youth, I spent 50 days in solitary confinement. Without seeing or speaking anyone, and without any connection to the world. Fifty nights and fifty days in solitary confinement. Afterwards, I was banished for four years to a remote island. I have faced many such things. I am no longer that young, but I have the courage to face anything,”
On supporting Yameen for a second term
“I don’t know if President Yameen is running for a second term. This is the truth. President Yameen has not made his intention to run for the presidency clear to this party or even to me personally.”
On the Yameen-factions plans to convene a separate council
“If someone decides to hold a meeting, he can do that. I cannot prohibit it. However I can say that it is illegal. As I said earlier, the advisor of the party has no active role in administering the oarty or making policy. So it is illegal,”
On holding talks with Yameen
“It has been a long time since I last met President Yameen. I have asked for a meeting on a number of occasions, but did not receive an answer. It has been more than a year. So now, what is there to talk about? I do not see that day coming. Why has he not offered to meet me all these days? Why did he let things go this far? I think there may be issues that we could have solved if we had talked. Why did he not pursue that? Should he want to meet me now, when things have gone this far? I can’t believe [Yameen will want to meet]”