The Progressive Party of Maldives has refused to accept the en masse resignation of renegade MPs citing inquiries launched by the party’s ethics committee.
PPM Secretary-General Dr Abdulla Khaleel told local media that a decision will be made after the committee looks into complaints lodged on July 3, the day the opposition alliance submitted a second no-confidence motion against Speaker Abdulla Maseeh with 45 signatures from the 85-member house.
Ten PPM lawmakers who signed the motion left the party after the Attorney General sought a Supreme Court ruling that would strip MPs of their seats if they cross the floor after winning on a party ticket.
At a press conference of the opposition alliance Wednesday night, the dissenting lawmakers accused the party of “hijacking” them in violation of the constitution, the political parties law and the PPM’s governing statutes, which state that membership can be relinquished upon request without prior notice.
The ten lawmakers who have asked to leave the PPM are Dhidhoo MP Abdul Latheef Mohamed, Dhagethi MP Ilham Ahmed, Hanimadhoo MP Hussain Shahudhy, Ihavandhoo MP Mohamed Abdulla, Machangoalhi South MP Abdulla Sinan, Thinadhoo South MP Saudhulla Hilmy, Thinadhoo North MP Abdulla Ahmed, Mahibadhoo MP Ahmed Thoriq, Fuvahmulah North MP Ali Shah, and Thimarafushi MP Mohamed Musthafa.
Aside from Musthafa, the other nine lawmakers previously voted against a no-confidence motion moved by the opposition in late March to remove Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed.
Musthafa was part of a breakaway faction of PPM MPs who took former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s side in an acrimonious leadership dispute with President Abdulla Yameen.
After losing control of the PPM to his half-brother when the civil court stripped the 79-year-old of his powers as the party’s elected leader, Gayoom formed an alliance with opposition parties and sought to seize the parliament’s majority with defections from the divided ruling party.
Unlike Musthafa, the four other PPM MPs who openly switched to Gayoom’s faction were expelled from the party.
Gayoom’s son MP Faris Maumoon was expelled by the ethics committee in July last year whilst MPs Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim and Mohamed Ameeth were expelled for breaching the party’s whip line in the March 27 no-confidence vote.
MP Saud Hussain was expelled after he pledged to support Gayoom’s reform efforts in early April.
However, Waheed and Saud have reportedly been informed that the PPM’s appeals committee is reviewing their expulsion from the party.
At last night’s press conference, Waheed challenged the legality of the move as the PPM’s charter requires the expelled member himself to appeal within a 15-day period, which has lapsed after the expulsion of the Gayoom loyalists.