On its fourth anniversary, the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has expelled its deputy leader and Maldives Vice president Ahmed Adeeb, days after he was arrested on suspicion of links to an explosion on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat.
In a brief statement, the PPM said its disciplinary committee had ruled that Adeeb had violated the party’s principles and ideology, but gave no details.
Adeeb was elected as PPM’s deputy leader in January 2013.
The government says the explosion was an assassination attempt on Yameen.
The president on Sunday detailed a litany of charges against Adeeb, including obstructing the inquiry into the boat blast by exerting undue influence within the police force.
PPM MPs are now gathering signatures on a petition to impeach Adeeb. Some 29 signatures will be required for the motion to be considered, and 57 votes of the 85 member house will be required for the vice president to be impeached.
Adeeb has denied any involvement in the boat blast. His lawyer Hussain Shameem has claimed there is no evidence to keep Adeeb detained, except a secret police intelligence report.
Ali Shahid ‘Steps Ayya,’ a vocal Adeeb supporter, was also expelled last night on the same charges. Shahid is a member of the PPM’s elections committee. He was briefly detained on Saturday for disrupting public peace at the time of Adeeb’s arrival in Male.
Prior to the current rift between Yameen and Adeeb, PPM had appeared split along factions loyal to former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Yameen’s half-brother, and factions loyal to Yameen and Adeeb.
At the time, Yameen and Adeeb’s supporters had backed a bill that would strip Gayoom of the PPM’s presidency. After the blast, the bill was rejected.
Some 13 party branches issued statements urging MPs to vote against the bill, while two Malé branches expressed support for the bill, stating that PPM should hand over its reins to the incumbent President Yameen. At the time, the party’s parliamentary group was unable to reach a decision even after two meetings.
Gayoom had also rejected an invitation to inaugurate a symposium to train campaign leaders for Yameen’s re-election campaign.
Since the boat blast, several top government officials, seen as loyal to Adeeb, have been sacked.