Maldives Civil Court on Thursday ordered ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to handover party control to half brother and incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
Two PPM lawmakers, loyal to president Yameen had filed the lawsuit in a bid to oust the elder Gayoom from the party leadership.
The lawsuit was filed hours after Gayoom, locked in a bitter power struggle with his half brother and incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom axed PPM deputy leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla from the council and two other members appointed by the elder Gayoom.
The civil lawsuit filed by two lawmakers loyal to president Yameen accused the elder Gayoom of violating the party charter and impeding its effective functioning.
The case has asked the court to remove Gayoom as the party leader in order to ensure that the party “is run in accordance with its charter and the political party law.
The court had ruled in favour of the plaintiffs, finding Gayoom guilty of violating the constitution, party charter and political party law.
The party control has been handed over to Yameen in the capacity of chief advisor. According to the PPM charter, the party's successful presidential candidate receives the post of chief advisor by default.
The court has also ordered president Yameen to hold a party council sit-down within 24 hours.
Gayoom had assumed full control of the party amid a fallout from his failed attempt to get his party lawmakers to vote down a government proposed amendment to the Tourism Act which sought to bypass the bidding process in island lease for tourism.
Gayoom soon after announced a reform program in a desperate bid to wrestle back control of his party had labelled the amendment as a clear violation of the party’s charter.
The party’s disciplinary committee then had ignored a ban on all party sit-downs imposed by Gayoom to vote out his lawmaker son Faaris Maumoon who had voted against the amendment from the party.
In an unprecedented turn of events, a faction loyal to Yameen had walked out of the last PPM council meeting in protest against the presence of Faaris in the council.
Gayoom had called in the emergency council meeting after a long hiatus in a bid to resolve the rift with his half brother Yameen and push his reform program.
Soon after, two PPM lawmakers in a bid to wrest party control from Gayoom filed a lawsuit last month claiming that Gayoom had hijacked the party by suspending its internal committees and announcing a reform agenda.
The elder Gayoom has since refused to hold a council sit-down demanding an apology for the walkout.