MPs of the Progressive Party of Maldives are seeking to mediate between the party’s leader and the incumbent president to settle their differences and resolve a bitter power struggle that has split the ruling party.
The PPM parliamentary group on Sunday decided to arrange a meeting between former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and President Abdulla Yameen in a bid to encourage reconciliation, MP Jameel Usman told local media.
The meeting will take place at a mutually convenient date, he added. The half-brothers have reportedly not spoken in months.
The factional strife appeared to worsen last week after Gayoom rebuffed the government’s demand for the PPM’s council to approve representatives for the upcoming all-party talks. The condition was imposed after Gayoom appointed his son to represent the party.
The PPM’s governing council has been suspended since Yameen’s loyalists walked out of a meeting called in July to resolve the infighting. The ‘Yameen faction’ objected to the presence of Gayoom’s son, MP Ahmed Faris Maumoon, who they insist was expelled for voting against a government-sponsored bill at his father’s behest.
Gayoom said last week that he will convene the council once the members who walked out apologise and promise to abide by the party’s charter.
Two MPs, Asma Rasheed and Mohamed Shujau, promptly sought Gayoom’s forgiveness. “I apologise to the party’s president if I have done anything that is contrary to the party’s charter,” reads similar messages posted by the MPs on the instant messaging platform Viber.
But three PPM MPs who sued Gayoom over the suspension of committees have reportedly refused to apologise. MPs Mohamed Shahid, Ahmed Shiyam and Ahmed Assad accused Gayoom of “hijacking” the PPM.
The case is ongoing at the civil court’s dispute resolution stage.
Citing a leaked conversation on the PPM MPs’ Viber group, newspaper Mihaaru meanwhile reported Yameen as saying last week that the party will face defeat in the upcoming local council elections if its internal problems persist.
Yameen’s remark was posted in response to MPs complaining about the party’s preparations for the polls due to take place on January 14.
Some MPs said it was unclear where interested candidates should submit applications. But Gayoom replied in the Viber group and explained how forms should be submitted to the party secretariat.
The opportunity to seek the PPM ticket is open to all members, he added.
Gayoom previously criticised a campaign office managed by First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim for conducting official PPM business and registering members.
He had also snubbed symposiums organised the first lady’s office to train “campaign leaders” for Yameen’s 2018 re-election bid.
The conflict between the half-brothers broke out into the open in late June after Gayoom refused to grant Yameen the PPM’s ticket without a presidential primary. The former strongman then launched an agenda to reform the PPM after accusing ruling party lawmakers of facilitating corruption and reversing democratic reforms.