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Progressive Party of Maldives

Timeline: From PPM’s Formation To Fall Out

in Politics by

On Thursday, sibling rivalry led to fall out of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) as Maumoon Abdul Gayoom withdrew his support from half-brother Abdulla Yameen-led government.

The rift between the brothers led to split of party into two factions- Maumoon’s loyalists and Yameen’s loyalists.

Ironically, the ultimate fall out took place on the fifth anniversary of PPM. Here’s a timeline of how the power-play between the Gayoom brothers escalated in these five years.

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Maldives: It’s Back To Square One!

in Opinion by
Even as reactions continue to pour in over the weekend on Maldives’ decision to exit the Commonwealth, alleging ‘unfair and unjust treatment’, the leadership of President Abdulla Yameen has moved on with the next political move, this one nearer home. The Yameen faction of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) got a civil court order removing former President and half-brother, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, as party head and replacing the latter’s team with another one of the President’s choice.
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On the opposition’s front, yet another former President, Mohammed ‘Anni’ Nasheed, too shed all semblances of fighting for democracy in the Maldives. From his overseas home in the UK, where he has been granted political asylum after jumping prison-leave for spinal surgery, Nasheed’s legal team has announced their decision to move UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, on a near-single point, for him to be able to contest the presidential polls, now due in 2018.

The Nasheed decision followed the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group’s (CMAG) inability to initiate any ‘action’ of the kind that his camp had envisaged against the Yameen government through its three meetings in the current year. The CMAG’s next meeting is fixed for March 2017 when it had threatened to take Maldives on its agenda to deny the nation participation in Commonwealth Council meetings and the rest.
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Nasheed’s decision to move the UNHRC also came only days before the Yameen government declared that it was quitting the Commonwealth. If earlier the Nasheed camp might have indicated that the Commonwealth was a toothless tiger, if at all, the Yameen decision has indicated that all CMAG initiatives of whatever kind have become infructuous with retrospective effect.

In a way, Nasheed’s team seemed to have foreseen the possibilities before moving the UNHRC, though it’s unclear if they had any specific information that Yameen would act faster on the Commonwealth front than anticipated – that’s ahead of the March session. On other related spheres, too, the government has acted quick and fast, dropping all links to the Commonwealth. Maldivian missions overseas have now become Embassies in the place of High Commissions, a term linked to the membership of the Commonwealth.
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With all this, Yameen seems to have reduced his ‘development’ agenda into a single-point scheme to be able to contest – and win – a second term, the highest under the existing 2008 constitution. Nasheed too has reduced all talks of democracy and ‘inclusive elections’ to include his name alone – or, also – in the ballot for 2018 polls. With their current moves thus, they have shed the fig-leaf of fighting for a cause, whatever it be, and have reduced it all into a fight for personal supremacy, which is what it had been from day one.

It’s anybody’s guess if the UNHRC could move any faster than the Commonwealth on Nasheed’s initiative, and provide for ‘inclusive’ elections of the kind that he and his followers within the larger Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) wants. Old Maldives hands would recall how Nasheed in his own way had ‘hijacked’ the MDP and with that the larger democracy plank when the Gayoom presidency was seemingly unending and autocratic.
Nearer home, thus, it’s equally unclear if there are other presidential aspirants in the MDP, who may want to contest the party primaries ahead of the 2018 polls, or would they unanimously adopt his name, as they did – or, were forced to do – in 2013. If Nasheed were allowed to contest the next presidential polls, whatever the ways and reasons, would his camp revive the earlier posturing that his first term remained incomplete after his resignation/coup in February 2012, is another politico-constitutional question that the party too may need to address, early on.
Even as the government was preparing to announce Maldives’ exit from the Commonwealth, the Yameen-majority PPM parliamentary group initiated motions of political rapprochement between the governmental and organisational wings. Or, so did it seem at the time. They called for brothers Yameen and Gayoom to patch up differences, and asked for time to meet with both.

Photo Courtesy: President's Office


 Yameen gave time, and Gayoom did not – and that was enough for the Yameen camp to move the civil courts and obtain an order, unseating Gayoom from his party presidency. Earlier, the parliamentary group stuck to their sacking Gayoom’s older son, Faraas, from membership and declared his disqualification to represent PPM in the all-party negotiations, purportedly revived by the government, post-CMAG.
Today, the all-party negotiations have lost their relevance in the Commonwealth’s context, but may still remain, even as a lip-service by all, given the government’s continued commitment to stay ‘engaged’ with the international community. Kenyan Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, who resigned to take up the Commonwealth Special Rapporteur assignment for Maldives, may be ‘unemployed’ just now, but that need not be the case with the UN special envoy, Tamrat Samuel.
A lot however would depend on which way the Yameen leadership on the one hand, and the MDP-led political opposition on the other, and the Gayoom camp, on the third could turn, and turn up, on the all-party negotiations. Already, all sections have gone back on their perceived post-CMAG commitments. The government has continued with pre-conditions that convicts could not be named (say, by the MDP) to rep resent them. The MDP too has harped on the same, after enthusiastically accepting the government’s invitation – but leaving it to the leadership to decide the party nominees for the talks.
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Just now, the Gayoom’s camp’s legal and political positions are unclear. Maumoon is expected to challenge his court-ordered removal as PPM head in higher judicial forums. Alongside and alternatively, he can be expected to consider floating a new party – the third since 2008 – and still nominate son Faraas to the political negotiations, if invited. Yameen’s foe-turned-friend-turned-foe of the past five years, former Home Minister Umar Naseer, too is hoping to be nominated for the presidential polls by the Gayoom camp, making it politically difficult for Gayoom to keep it within the family, still.

After distancing itself from Nasheed’s early claims to an emerging/existing alliance against Yameen, the Gayoom camp surprised followers and foes alike by participating in a recent all-opposition news conference against the nation’s Election Commission – and by extension, the incumbent government. They were protesting against the EC delaying/denying funds disbursements for recognised political parties, as laid down under the 2008 constitution, citing what they considered were ‘extraneous reasons’.
The EC however has threatened to de-recognise parties whose leaders were living overseas and were not available to update Commission documents and electoral lists’ as required. Nasheed and his associates in the MDP-led Maldives United Opposition (MUO), apart from the parties that they lead, are candidates for such de-recognition. Would the MDP and other parties in the EC’s list ‘elect’ leaders for an interim period, which could extend indefinitely, if only to be on EC’s records of recognised political parties authorised to contest future elections, is the question they should be asking themselves.
Over the medium-term, however, with Nasheed out of the country and prison without authorisation, and continuing to remain ‘disqualified’ from contesting the elections, any alternative arrangement  is for the MDP to make and in good time. Independent of the ‘terrorism’ trial that was heaped on Nasheed for what r remained an ordinary criminal trial in the ‘Judge Adbulla abduction case’ dating back to the former’s months as president, the inability of the international community to have an ‘inclusive’ election as he has now envisaged, could flag political, rather than diplomatic issues of their own.
Hopes now thus lie more on the effective revival of the political negotiations, under UN care than on any UNHRC initiatives. There again, the government has been maintaining stoic silence on the continued relevance of the UN group on arbitrary detentions naming Nasheed’s as ‘one’, which it had condemned unequivocally when made. None of the stake-holders, including the UN, can ride on multiple tigers, and hope to reach their destination, purportedly common.
It’s back to square one – who winks first, if at all, how and for how long, and who does not. In context, Maldives quitting the Commonwealth, and the latter feeling saddened about what anyway was in the making, and the UK as the Commonwealth’s founder and eternal chair, too feeling upset, have only academic relevance just now.
So are all the protests and criticisms of the Maldivian exit from the Commonwealth, both from within and outside the country….at least until the other stakeholders have a point to make, and make it loud, clear and effectively in ways the Maldivian state apparatus and the Yameen leadership hear, understand, and are compelled to act upon.  The irony is that the solution to the Maldivian imbroglio lies within, and international diplomacy can only take it away not closer to the ‘collective goal’, which is just not there, either.

(N. Sathiya Moorthy is Director, Chennai Chapter of the Observer  Research Foundation.  The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FocusMaldives.)
This article was originally published on South Asia Monitor. It has been republished with permission.

Umar Naseer Appointed To PPM’s Council On Maumoon Gayoom’s Discretion

in Mas-Huni Brief by

Umar Naseer, months after resigning from President Abdulla Yameen-led government, has been appointed to the Council of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) on the discretion of party’s President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

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  • Umar is one of the most loyal supporters of Gayoom
  • He took Twitter to thank Gayoom and said he would work in accordance with the founding purpose of the party.
  • He was also a member of the short term advisory committee formed to implement PPM’s reform agenda which was later dismissed following his will to contest 2018 Presidential election.
  • Along with Umar Ahmed Sofwan was also appointed to PPM’s Council

Read full story at VNews

The Maldives’ Story Of ‘Leave. Leaving… Left’ Commonwealth: All You Need To Know

in News/Politics by

September 18

CHRI: The nations is sliding into a dictatorial system once again and the situation will soon push the island nation into the brink of violence and anarchy. Suspend, exclude and halt the current government.

September 23

CMAG: Deeply disappointed in lack of progress in the Maldives and now on a formal agenda and threat of suspension in March.

Ruling ‘Defamation Fame’ MP Jaufar Dawood: Commonwealth is ‘camel fart’. If we haven’t any advantage as a member of the Commonwealth, why shouldn’t we leave them?

September 25

Ruling Riyaz Rasheed: Now is the time for Maldives to leave Commonwealth. People’s Majlis would deliberate over the matter and make its decision when it re-opens.

September 27

Willy Mutunga: The country is facing severe democracy deficit.

October 6

Majlis reopens

October 13

Foreign Ministry: Maldives has decided to leave the Commonwealth.


October the 13- the day when President Abdulla Yameen-led government, taking forward its isolation policy and dictatorial behaviour, slayed 34-year-old tie with the Commonwealth. The government alleged that the group was deliberating “punitive actions” following the situation that led to ouster of former President Mohamed Nasheed in 2012. Foreign Ministry said it was “difficult, but inevitable” step as the 53-nation group has been treating the current government “unjustly and unfairly”.

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The development came weeks after the rhetoric from all the President’s men -who asked the government to flex its muscles – to leave the group after Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) put the Maldives on its formal and gave another six months time to work on the six-point threatening suspension from the group. That time, too, the ruling party MP Riyaz Rasheed indicated to “a group of individuals living in self-exile in UK” who were influencing the group’s decision.

The Foreign Ministry scuffling at the group further said that the Maldives was being used as an object for organisation’s own relevance.

(Maldives)… would be an easy object that can be used, especially in the name of democracy promotion, to increase the organisation’s own relevance and leverage in international politics

The decision to quit the Commonwealth created international furore within minutes with many expressing not just disappointment over it but also suggesting that consequential international isolation will adversely affect its citizens who are already fighting a long battle with human rights abuses, high-level corruption and crackdown on dissent.

One of the first reactions came from President Yameen’s half brother and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who has been at loggerheads with the former over a number of issues. said he was disappointed on leaving the group as he was the one who “led the country into Commonwealth”.

The 78-year-old President of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) said he was disappointed on leaving the group as he was the one who “led the country into Commonwealth” and that “isolation will not solve problems”.

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Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said members of the Commonwealth will share his sadness worldwide.

I have received news that the Maldives Government has today decided to leave the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth family at large – its member governments and its peoples worldwide – will share my sadness and disappointment at this decision.

British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Maldives James Dauris said that he was saddened by the decision.

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Former President Nasheed took social networking site Facebook to express his anger and said:

Removing the Maldives from the Commonwealth is an act of desperation by a President who doesn’t like the truth and is unwilling to be held accountable for his authoritarianism.

Internationally acclaimed human rights watchdog Amnesty International suggested that instead of lashing out at international criticism, the country should address the situation.

Instead of complaining about unfair treatment, the Maldives government should look at engaging more constructively with the international community.

Former foreign minister Ahmed Shaheed told New York Times that isolation will bring more criticism to the country.

He is getting deeper and deeper into isolation. He would think he’s insulating himself from Commonwealth criticism, but he will receive more and more.

David White, the chief of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative called October the 13th as sad day.

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Other stakeholders- MPs, journalists, politicians and activists – took Twitter to express shock and disappointment.

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The government also received flak worldwide for severing ties with Iran to become a part of the league of Sunni nations to join Saudi Arabia in setting diplomatic agenda against the country.

President Yameen is also facing in-party isolation as most of his former cabinet ministers are either jailed, a part of rainbow coalition Maldivian United Opposition (MUO), have resigned citing differences. And, most importantly from his half-brother, mentor and party chief- Maumoon Gayoom.

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Meanwhile, Boris Johnson – the Brexit rival of Nasheed’s good friend David Cameron- who is currently the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom said:

(The UK will) continue to work with the Maldives Government to help strengthen democracy, particularly freedom of speech and the media and independence of the judiciary.

Fenaka Chairman Resigns After ACC Launches Probe Into Theft Of USD 1 M

in Mas-Huni Brief by

Chairman of Fenaka Corporation, Mohamed Nadheem has resigned after anti-graft watchdog Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) launched a probe into theft of USD 1 million from state coffers.

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Photo Courtesy: Fenaka

  • No official confirmation has been made in this regard and the reason for the same is stated to unclear
  • Nadheem is the husband of former President Maumoon Gayoom’s daughter Yumna Maumoon
  • The company is undergoing major changes in top management after the allegations of corruption
  • MVR 17 million issued by the corporation USD 1 million went missing in August this year
  • Former Managing Director of Fenaka Corporation, Ahmed Nimal was removed from his position on September 26

Nadheem in his resignation letter to Privatisation board said:

Since my appointment to the post on December 25, 2013 I have performed my duties sincerely, to the best of his abilities. He said that he worked with the aim of achieving goals, related to the company, outlined in the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) manifesto. With the help of the company’s board, I tried to make the 24-hour electricity pledge a reality. I worked for the betterment of the Maldivian people.

‘Leave Commonwealth Before It Suspends Maldives’ : All The President’s Men

in News/Politics by

After Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) put the Maldives on its formal agenda and gave another six months time to work on the six-point agenda threatening suspension from the group, the rhetoric within the government is to flex its muscles and leave the group instead of bowing down.

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However, the People’s Majlis is yet to deliberate on the matter and decision is likely to be taken when it reopens.

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Vilufushi MP Riyaz Rasheed was among many other MPs who demanded the same after the group in a highly critical report after a meeting on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) threatened suspension by March next year.

Rasheed declared that “now is the time for Maldives to leave Commonwealth, and that People’s Majlis would deliberate over the matter and make its decision when it re-opens,” Sun Online reported.

Another MP, often known for his outspoken attitude, Riyaz  said that even President Abdulla Yameen is in favour of leaving Commonwealth and asked for advice from Majlis .

Alleging that the decisions of CMAG was influenced by “a group of individuals living in self-exile in UK”, Riyaz said that the time of leave Commonwealth has come.

Defamation bill fame MP Jaufar Dawood, in a reply to a Twitter user said that the Maldives was not getting any benefits from the Commonwealth and so the country should not be “afraid” to leave the group.

He, further, went on to continue with his opinion and rather offensive and compared the group to “camel fart”.

CMAG took its decision on the basis of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative’s (CHRI) report which said that the situation in the Maldives is sliding to dictatorship and if the situation continues the island nation will be on the brink of violence and anarchy.

2 Years Of Ahmed Rilwan’s Abduction; Suspects Freed; An Epitaph Of Govt’s Failure

in News by

It’s been more than 700 days. It will be two years on August 8 since the time Maldives Independent journalist Ahmed Rilwan is missing. On the 713th day, two suspects- who were arrested in connection with the abduction- were freed stirring anguish among people at a time when the country is already reeling under international denunciation of clampdown on press.

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The demand to find Rilwan has gained momentum once again after the release under the hashtag #FindMoyameehaa

Meanwhile, a Twitter user even asked ex-President and PPM leader Mumooon Gayoom to help find Rilwan amid the power play with his half-brother Yameen.


Two Suspects Freed, Mastermind Absconded!


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Criminal Court released the two suspects held in Rilwan’s Abduction on Wednesday while the mastermind abducted long back for which the family members of Rilwan held police responsible for discrepancies in investigation.
Two suspects- Ahmed Aalif Rauf and Mohamed Nooruddin- were arrested on April 5 by police for allegedly abducting Rilwan in September 2014.

29-year-old Aalif, a resident of H. Hilton, Male’ and 31-year-old Noordaddin, a resident of Karankaage, G. Dh. Vaadhoo were allegedly abducted Rilwan in a red car on the orders of Mohamed Suaid- who fled the country after being released by criminal court in November 2014.

Both the suspects were on remand of the police and were also transferred to house arrest for a brief period of 10 days.


Police Investigation


 

Police after investigating the case in April this year established that Railwan was abducted at knife point and said that members of Malé’s Kuda Henveiru gang were involved.

The gang followed Rilwan for over two hours in the red car- owned by Aarif- that was brought to Hulhumalé on August 1 and brought back to Malé in mid-August that year.

Police also confirmed that the abduction was well planned in advance but declined any political connection to which Rilwan’s family, friends and supporters strongly objected.


What Really Happened That Night?


On August 8, 2014, around 12.44 am Rilwan was seen taking a ferry at Hulhumalé terminal. He reached suburb island after 25 minutes upon which he did not take a bus according to a eye witness who was a fellow passenger with Rilwan on the ferry.

It was between 1.30 am and 2.00 am when Rilwan’s neighbours saw someone forcing Rilwan in a car at knife point in front of his apartment. The abductors dropped the knife that night which was later recovered by police, Rilwan’s friend claims which police declined.

Rilwan was 28 years old when he was abducted on that chilling night and was a target of many religious and extremists group for his reports. “Rilwan had received numerous death threats for his criticism of religious extremist groups and had reported being followed by a man suspected of involvement in a near-fatal attack on a blogger in 2012,” one of his friends claimed.

“We believe he was abducted but we’ve not got any leads,” The Independent quoted his brother, Moosa Rilwan as saying. “We believe he was abducted by people to stop his freedom of speech; to stop him writing about politics and radicals.”


UN’s Intervention & Govt’s Indifference


The United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance (WGEID), taking cognizance of Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) request to intervene in the case, summoned government to respond to the case filed regarding Rilwan’s abduction and government’s involvement in the case.

The government, however, rejected any such claims and said “rejected any suggestion that it is responsible for the disappearance of Rilwan or that it has had any involvement as alleged or at all.” and claimed that it was police’s “highest priority” to investigate his case and the perpetrators will be brought to “justice”.

The government also stated that the “initial delay” of the crucial first five days in the reporting of the disappearance and certain other challenges affected “prompt investigation into such a complex matter”.

But, soon after government’s claims, Zaheena Rashid, the editor of Maldives Independent lashed out government for telling “lies” to the UN and claimed that his Rilwan’s neighbours reported the abduction minutes after the incident.


The Possible Nexus Between Rilwan’s Abduction, Dr Afraasheem Murder & Humam’s Hanging


This is Shamoon ‘Lucas’ Jaleel, a close friend of Rilwan, who has alleged several times that he was killed as he knew the finest details of murder of religious leader and a member of Progressive Party of Maldives Dr Afraasheem.

Dr Afraasheem was the possible threat to President Yameen’s candidature in 2013 Presidential elections, conspiracy theories claim as some allege that he was killed by a contract killer 24-year-old Hussain Humam Ahmed on the promised amount of MVR 1.6 crore.

Interestingly, Humam is almost on the death bed and will become the first Maldivian in 60 years to receive President Yameen endorsed death penalty if he is sentenced as ruled by the Supreme Court.

Like Rilwan, Humam is also under international body scanner for not receiving fair trial as he even after confessing the murder, retracted it saying that he was pressurised to take the responsibility of the murder.

The rights body questioned that why no investigation on the “mastermind” who asked Humam to murder Afraasheem was done and why Humam’s mental condition- which his father claimed was not stable- taken into consideration.


In Pics: The Struggle To Find Rilwan


Close to two years and no sign of Rilwan yet his friends and family members are hopeful of his return and pray for his safety and security while they also share some pictures as part of their memories with Rilwan.

 

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The Clash Of Gayooms; Two & A Half Years Later, Who Is The Boss In PPM?

in News/Politics by

Swept by a major grass root democracy movement, the longest running dictator of the Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom had to give in to the then 41-year-old “prisoner of conscience” Mohamed Nasheed. It was the end of Gayoom’s 30-year-long dictatorial rule.

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But, it could not last longer. Nasheed was allegedly “forced to resign on gun point” in 2012 and Gayoom had a chance to get back into politics in 2013 Presidential election, but cautioned by his defeat, he played safe and endorsed his half-brother Abdulla Yameen as the Presidential candidate.

Two and a half years in the rule under President Abdulla Yameen, Gayoom is certainly not happy with him and wants to bring “major reforms” in the Progressive Party of Maldives while Yameen supporters see him as someone who is trying to “hijack” the party.

Here’s All You Need To Know

Tourism Bill: PPM Leaders’ ‘Aye’ (Gayoom: 0; Yameen: 1)

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  • Gayoom had now urged ruling party lawmakers to vote against the Yameen sponsored amendments to the tourism bill in the Viber Group chat saying that it was against the party’s stand- which is to ensure public prosperity through equitable distribution of natural resources.

  • But only Maumoon’s son, MP Ahmed Faris, and MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim voted against the bill.

  • The amendment allowed government to lease islands, lagoon and plots of tourism without any bidding.

The Power Play Via Sacking (Gayoom: 1; Yameen: 1)

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  • Gayoom stripped PPM’s deputy leader Abdul Raheem of his powers after he reportedly voted in favour of the government sponsored Tourism Bill defying his orders to turn down the bill.

  • But, then Yameen sacked Gender Ministry’s Executive Coordinator and PPM council member Aminath Nadira for tweeting in favour of Gayoom.


  • Later, Gayoon took Twitter to thank Nadira and other PPM members for support.


Presidential Primary: A Big Setback For Yameen (Gayoom: 1; Yameen: 0)

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  • Some of the leaders expressed the will that Yameen should be given 2018 Presidential election ticket “uncontested” without primaries but Gayoom refused to buy the argument.

  • As part of his reform agenda, Gayoom announced PPM’s presidential primary date which will be held in five phases starting July 3.

  • According to the rules, President Yameen, if manages to complete five years of his tenure, would be eligible to contest the election without the primaries. But, a big “NO” has come from the Godfather of the party

Gayoom Thrown Out Of Official Viber Group (Gayoom: 0; Yameen: 1)

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  • After day Gayoom called Yameen’s government “corrupt”, cautioned against the misuse of Judiciary and called for the reforms, he was thrown out of the official Viber group of the party for meddling with the administration and trying to “hijack” the party.


  • It was done days after Abdul Raheem Gayoom could not “hijack” the entire party and that he would not be allowed to put its activities on hold.

To Hang Or Not To Hang: Gayoom Hits The Right Chord (Gayoom: 1; Yameen: 0)

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  • Yameen is currently facing criticism from Maldivians and international bodies for bringing back capital punishment especially at a time when Judiciary is not “trust-worthy”. Scoring on the popular sentiments, Gayoom condemned the decision for capital punishment.

  • He said, “No Muslim state has the right to implement Qisās or death sentence outside the Islamic Law.”


  • Gayoom ensured moratorium on capital punishment during his 30-year rule

What do you think? Who is winning?

Here’s Ex-President Gayoom’s Full Statement Slamming Govt Policies

in News by

Hours after taking control of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) by stripping Deputy leader Abdul Raheem of his powers, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom came down heavily on the government’s policies and the ruling party’s parliamentary group in a press conference on Thursday night.

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Here’s Gayoom’s full statement:

‘Lately, this party’s democratic activities have very much come to a halt. The party’s image, too, has been tarnished among the Maldivian people. This is something the party’s members and I are very concerned about.

The question is why did this come to be? In my view, the biggest reason is the loss of the party’s internal discipline, the diminishing respect for the party’s charter, and the actions of the party’s various organs and members that were contrary to the counsel and thinking of the party’s leadership. When we looked to take disciplinary action against such people, the party’s organs were incapable.

I do not intend to demean any of the party’s organs. I respect all of the party’s organs. But sadly, the truth I have to tell is that the party’s parliamentary group leader has acted against instructions I gave in writing.

Section 39(b) of the charter state that the parliamentary group’s decisions must conform to the party’s fundamental principles and policies – decisions that encourage achieving the party’s objectives. Despite this being stated in such clear language in the charter, and while remaining the majority party in the People’s Majlis, the parliamentary group’s whip line is set in contravention of the party’s principles and objectives. Such decisions cannot be valid. And I note with sadness that such decisions are causing harm to the nation.

Likewise, article 14 of the charter state that each member of the party must agree to act in accordance with the charter, principles, and ideology. Therefore, those who do not cannot be a member of the party.

The amendment for leasing uninhabited islands of the Maldives, land and lagoons, without a public announcement is absolutely contrary to the party’s objectives. Article 10(j) of the party’s charter states that ensuring the prosperity of the people by equitably bestowing on them the wealth of Maldivian land, seas, and all related natural resources, is among the party’s main objectives.

As this is so clear in the party’s charter, I appealed for MPs not to vote for this bill and undertook many efforts in my capacity as the party’s president. However, in violation of the party’s charter, some members of the parliamentary group have done this in a way that harms the Maldives and its people. Yesterday’s vote is one example of many such instances.

And I also have to say, instructions I give to the PPM MPs through text messages as the president of the party are also not being followed.

Furthermore, is the party administered by the party’s office or another office? A lot of the party’s branches and members have been asking me this question. I have been receiving complaints of another office accepting membership forms, creating branches, and issuing instructions to branches. I have also learned that members and branches have not been registered because the party’s office does not receive such forms and documents.

And very recently, reports of a petition to me signed by members of the party’s council had spread very rapidly in the media. Some council members have also talked about it in the media. On this issue, I have to first say that I have not received the said petition. Therefore, there is no room for me to comment on its content.

However, I have to say that it was not done right at all. I say this because you beloved members elected me to the post of president, and charged me with achieving the objectives stated in article 52 of the charter. And while I remain in the post with God’s will, that some council members did such a thing without informing me, in secret, is very saddening.

Some council members who signed that petition called me or met me after signing it and told me that they signed it because they had no other choice. And they told me in great detail how it occurred. Therefore, even if that petition had come to me, I would find it hard to believe that it is a valid petition.

The whole country is facing the adverse consequences of losing the party’s discipline, not respecting the party’s charter, and acting against the advice of the party’s president.

The council is the highest organ of the party and the present government is a PPM government, [but] major changes have been made to the constitution without the knowledge of the PPM president. Major changes are also being brought to laws. Things are happening against the principles of  accountability, transparency, and international best practice, and in a way that paves the way for corruption.

And things are happening in a way that raises questions about the Maldivian judiciary. Ordinary citizens are extremely concerned about all of this.

Reforming the party and returning to the sound principles of the party is, according to article 45 of the charter, my responsibility as president of the party. Therefore, I have done a lot of work within the party for many days to find a solution to the aforementioned problems by talking to various members and organs.

But sadly, I have not made any progress despite all the work. As time is passing without the problems being solved, and because the dissatisfaction and worries of the PPM’s members are growing from day to day, I would like to inform you beloved members that I have launched efforts to reform the PPM.

The purpose of this reform programme is to reform the party’s internal mechanisms and to return to the party’s true principles. The first step of this reform programme is to strengthen the administration of the party. Article 56 of the charter states the party’s vice presidents must help the party’s president. [Deputy Leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla has been stripped of authority to administer the party’s affairs.]

The second step is to understand the current state of the party, discover the number of legitimate members and legitimate branches, and identify the restrictions the party’s office and organs are facing. At the same time, in accordance with the rules, to make the party’s main office the only authority that issues various instructions to the party’s branches and members.

The other thing is making the party more democratic, reducing the democracy deficit, and seeking the views and counsel of the party’s members more on party affairs.

When this work is done, we can properly prepare for the January 2017 local council elections. Today I have formed the advisory council provided for in our charter to give me advice and counsel in this task. According to the rules, the advisory council has eight members in addition to the party’s president.

The other important step of my reform programme is to find out what has and has not been achieved in the PPM manifesto. I want very much to discover the views of the party’s members on this. I believe this will be very important information for the PPM to win the 2018 presidential election. God willing, I will reveal very soon a timetable for this work.

To implement this reform agenda that I have summarised, I need the full cooperation and help of the party’s council, parliamentary group, and all organs. I do not doubt that everyone will give me this cooperation and help. I sincerely appeal for the full support of the party’s members in this task.

I especially urge the party’s members to do the following: work in accordance with the party’s charter, objectives, and principles, encourage the party’s other members, branches, and officials in the party’s posts to do the same, check to ensure that officials elected on the party’s ticket are acting in accordance with your thinking, think deeply about the direction of the country and freely share views with the party’s branches and leadership, and share your views with me on preparing the PPM’s manifesto for 2018.

I believe that if this reform agenda I am proposing is completed, the PPM’s image will be restored, a PPM presidential candidate will be determined in accordance with the charter, and PPM will win the presidential election with God’s will. And a swift solution can be found to the big national problems we are facing today.’

Majlis Authorises Govt To Lease Islands Without Bidding: 7 Things To Know

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The people’s Majlis on Wednesday approved controversial changes to the tourism law authorizing the government to lease islands for resort development without a competitive bidding process.

majlis 1

  • Forty-five MPs voted in favour of the bill while 19 voted against it. In an apparent defiance of an appeal by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the lawmakers of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) backed the government-sponsored amendments.
  • The tourism ministry can now lease islands, lagoons and plots of land without a bidding process to any party that submits a proposal to its liking.
  • According to the biil, the ministry has to formulate criteria for evaluating proposals, ensure the proposed site is environmentally suitable and seek approval from the president’s office.
  • Opposition MPs slammed the government, warning that the new rules would effectively “legalise corruption.”
  • MPs of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party alleged that the bill aimed at stealing millions of dollars in resort lease payments under President Abdulla Yameen’s watch.
  • Former Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim termed Wednesday’s vote “a betrayal of trust” by elected representatives.
  • “A bunch of filthy puppets whose strings are held by a criminal mind, who loves nothing but ill-gotten money, unchecked powers and authority without accountability, are stripping it’s citizens of all what they have, all what they fought for and all what they desired or dreamed off,” he wrote on Facebook.
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