Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom on Wednesday assumed full control of the party amid a fallout with half brother and incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom over the passing of a controversial amendment to the Tourism Act.
President Yameen had countered his half brother’s move to get ruling party lawmakers to vote down the amendment which sought to bypass the bidding process in island lease for tourism.
Gayoom earlier Tuesday had urged his party lawmakers to vote down the government proposed amendment which authorises the state to lease islands, lagoons and land plots for tourism projects without putting them up for bid.
However, the government controlled parliament on Wednesday passed the amendment with all the ruling party lawmakers except two, voting to defy Gayoom .
Sources say Gayoom relieved his deputy and Fonadhoo MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla of his authority to call council meetings and the overall administrative running of PPM.
The move is believed to have been taken after the party council proposed to penalise the two MPs who had not voted for the amendment.
Gayoom’s son, Faris Maumoon was the only PPM MP present in Wednesday to vote against. MP Ibrahim ‘Waddey’ Waheed reportedly left the parliament house minutes before the vote.
The two Gayooms are seemingly headed for a political showdown amid a widening rift within the ruling party.
Gayoom had recently rejected a petition by the party council to gift the party's presidential ticket to president Yameen for his re-election in 2018 without a primary.