Former president and ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom took back his support for his half-brother and incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s government late Thursday.
The elder Gayoom made his announcement at the press conference attended by PPM members loyal to him at SHE Building after he and his faction were denied entry to PPM office to participate in the party’s fifth anniversary celebration that night.
PPM was divided into two factions, one loyal to Gayoom and the other to President Yameen, following the ugly public fall-out between the two half-brothers. The conflict arose when Gayoom and a number of other PPM members criticised President Yameen being given an elections ticket without a primary as a violation of PPM’s charter. Subsequently, two lawmakers loyal to Yameen filed a lawsuit against Gayoom, accusing him of violating the party charter and impeding effective functioning by refusing to hold party council meetings. The lower court had ruled in favour of the plaintiffs, ordering Gayoom to hand over party control to its founder President Yameen, thus exacerbating the feud between the two half-brothers and divided factions of PPM. Gayoom had appealed the case at both the High Court and Supreme Court, protesting that stripping his powers and handing them to a symbolic position such as the party founder violated PPM’s charter. However, as the case had already been filed at the appeal court by another member of PPM privately before Gayoom, following which the High Court had upheld the Civil Court’s verdict, his appeals were consequently rejected.
Gayoom, who had actively strived to bring his younger half-brother to power, highly criticised President Yameen’s government and its actions as he took back his support for the regime.
He declared that the government, which had come into power holding the country as its first priority, is currently acting in violation of the law, regulations and democratic policies. With the separation of powers disrupted, he stated that one voice has dominated all three powers of legislative, executive and judicial.
The former president described the current situation of the nation as authoritarian with all citizens forced to bow before a single entity. Noting the recent exposes on corruption within the government, he said that the state-controlled parliament has passed laws and amendments debilitating to the public.
In his address, Gayoom described President Yameen’s actions in his regime as a direct contrast to the objectives and purpose of PPM, violating the party’s charter and principles.
Declaring that PPM’s utmost priority is the good of the nation, Gayoom said, “A government that puts aside the interest of the country for its own interest is truly not a PPM government. [Causing] damage to the public is also not something PPM would do. But this government has passed several laws that are damaging to citizens. I don’t want any party I support to do such actions.”
Adding that some of the responsibility for current circumstances fall on himself as the leader of PPM, Gayoom announced to his loyal faction and the press, “Thus, I intend to withdraw my support for this party beginning tonight.”
His declaration was met with cheers and joy from his loyalists in attendance.
Gayoom went on to say that he had struggled against the actions taken that violated ethics and principles in both the party and the government.
“I’ve been working on [improvements and correction] since a long time ago. Sometimes, they were not done publically. But [the government] has been hindering the corrective works. Some people do not even want to listen to the word “improve”. They turn whoever says that word into someone that is against the government, a person of MDP (main opposition, Maldivian Democratic Party). But we need improvement. That is how it is even in the religion [of Islam]. We are not part of MDP,” Gayoom declared.
The former president concluded his address with the assurance that he will remain in PPM and maintain it as a successful party.