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Gayoom vindicated by Yameen faction walkout, says PPM

An emergency meeting of the ruling party’s council Tuesday night showed that some members are opposed to the reform agenda launched by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the Progressive Party of Maldives has said.



An emergency meeting of the ruling party’s council Tuesday night exposed the opposition of some members to the reform agenda launched by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the Progressive Party of Maldives has said.

“It has also been shown that the decision by the party’s president [Gayoom] to move ahead with the reform efforts without calling a council meeting was a wise decision,” the PPM said in a statement last Wednesday.

PPM MPs had criticised Gayoom’s decisions to suspend the party’s committees and form an advisory body to formulate his reform agenda, contending that he bypassed seeking the council’s approval in violation of the party’s charter.

Gayoom called Tuesday night’s meeting at the request of the PPM parliamentary group to resolve the worsening internal strife.

But a majority of the executive council walked out in protest against the participation of Gayoom’s son Faris Maumoon and Aminath Nadhira, who they insist have been expelled by the party’s disciplinary committee.

Unnamed Gayoom loyalists told newspaper Mihaaru that the members walked out after a phone call from President Abdulla Yameen to MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla, deputy leader of the PPM.

Raheem, who was stripped by Gayoom of authority to administer the party’s affairs, has denied the claim.

At a press conference after the meeting, Majority Leader Ahmed Nihan also denied leaving on the orders of Yameen. He argued that the meeting was invalid with Faris and Nadhira in attendance.

But Gayoom loyalists said the ‘Yameen faction’ walked out after about 40 minutes.

According to the PPM statement, Gayoom started off the meeting by advising the members to express their views about the split within the party.

Nihan had also told the press that the members walked out after listening to Gayoom’s advice for about 35 minutes.

The 21 members who left appears to be backing Yameen against his half-brother in the power struggle for control of the ruling party.

Mihaaru also reported that Yameen has refused to meet Gayoom for months despite repeated requests.

The PPM split was triggered by Gayoom’s refusal to grant Yameen the party’s 2018 ticket without a primary, despite a petition signed by a majority of the council members.

The new bone of contention between the two factions is the expulsion of Faris and Nadhira.

Faris was expelled for breaching the parliamentary group’s whip line by voting against a bill that authorised the government to award islands without bidding.

Gayoom, who urged PPM MPs to vote against the government-sponsored bill, refused to accept the expulsion.

The disciplinary committee is comprised of seven members, including two who can be appointed by the member under investigation.

But Faris was expelled in a meeting with only three members in attendance, which was not enough for a quorum, Gayoom told the press last week.

However, Ali Waheed, the committee’s chair, told The Maldives Independent last week that the expulsion of Faris, Nadhira and Malé City Councillor Zaidul Ameen was valid.

Waheed explained to local media after the council meeting that one of the original five members had left the committee after his appointment as information commissioner.

Of the remaining four, Waheed said one member could not attend due to poor health. The temporary members were not appointed because Faris refused to attend the meeting, he said.

Meanwhile, a day after the failed council meeting, the PPM parliamentary group removed Faris from the parliament’s influential national development committee and “demoted” him to the petition committee.