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Ruling party lawmaker stripped of seat

PPM MP Fazad joined the opposition campaign on Wednesday.



MP Ali Fazad is facing imminent disqualification from parliament after his expulsion from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives. 

The PPM ethics committee decided to expel the MP for mid-Fuvahmulah at a meeting Thursday afternoon. Due to a controversial anti-defection law passed in March, Fazad will be stripped of his seat once the Elections Commission is informed of his dismissal from the party.

The contested law states that MPs elected on political party tickets would lose their seat if they left their party, got expelled, or switched parties.

Fazad, who was elected on a PPM ticket in 2014, travelled with opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to Haa Alif atoll and spoke at the opposition rally on Hoarafushi island Wednesday night.

With the presidential election in just over two weeks, Fazad announced he was officially joining the opposition coalition “because the nation is bigger than the party, because of growing injustice and tyranny, and the government leaving the bounds of the law.”

He declared he was “not afraid” of the consequences.

Yameen’s administration has been deceiving youth and forcing them to beg for loans, he said.

“Sports arena is not just a futsal ground. The manifesto says many sports can be played. There is not a single island in the Maldives with such a sports arena,” he said.

The opposition candidate can change the culture of begging lawmakers or influential figures for government assistance, he added.

He also slammed the transfer of staff from government companies as punishment for attending opposition rallies. A driver at the State Trading Organisation from his native Fuvahmulah was transferred from the southern atoll to the northernmost one, he said.

Following the defection, PPM parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nihan warned of disciplinary action against Fazad.

He is the second lawmaker representing a Fuvahmulah constituency to join the opposition. Fuvahmulah North MP Ali Shah is among a dozen former PPM MPs deemed to have lost their seats after defecting in July last year.

According to a letter sent to Fazad from the ethics committee, he was accused of refusing to cooperate with party requests, refusing to attend parliamentary group meetings, and undermining the party’s candidate and government.

Fazad, who remains with the opposition candidate on the campaign trail, also refused to attend the committee meeting to speak in his defence.

The committee believed it was “unacceptable” for the party to face damage from a senior figure.