Home minister Umar Naseer has rejoined the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). “Good to be back with that I had the privilege to lead through all the struggles,” Naseer said in a tweet today.
I have signed for PPM on the 2nd of this month. Good to be back with members that I had the priviledge to lead through all the struggles.
— Umar Naseer (@UmarNaseerPPM) September 7, 2015
Naseer was expelled from the PPM in mid-2013 after claiming that presidential primaries were rigged in favour of Abdulla Yameen, whom he accused of having links to criminal gangs, convicts and drug smuggling “networks.”
Naseer’s return to the PPM follows rumours of a rift between PPM leader and former president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and his half-brother President Yameen.
Gayoom extended a “warm welcome” to Naseer in a tweet today.
“I’m confident that he will be a great asset to our party,” Gayoom said.
Gayoom had declined an invitation to attend a campaign symposium this weekend organised by first lady Fathimath Ibrahim to launch Yameen’s re-election bid for 2018. The first lady’s campaign office has extended a second invitation to the former president to inaugurate the second round of the symposium on September 10.
Naseer had joined the Jumhooree Party (JP) following his dismissal from the PPM and backed the JP candidate Gasim Ibrahim in the 2013 presidential polls. He eventually endorsed Yameen for the second round run-off against former President Mohamed Nasheed.
However, Naseer had said at a rally in June 2013 that the PPM could not win the election with Yameen as its candidate, claiming he was “the root of all the problems faced by our country today.”
“People say that there is a connection between Yameen and the illicit drugs that are sold on the streets of Maldives,” Naseer had alleged.
However, following his appointment as home minister, Naseer dismissed the allegations as “political rhetoric” borrowed from the opposition.
In 2014, Naseer was dragged to the courts over statements he had made in January 2012 calling on the public to storm the military barracks. An arrest warrant was issued when he failed to turn up to hearings. The case remains stalled.