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Maldives ruling party lawmakers to oust Gayoom with age cap amid power struggle

Mohamed Visham
30 June 2016, MVT 22:38
PPM leader Gayoom pictured outside his party office after a sit-down with key party officials on Thursday. MIHAARU PHOTO/MOHAMED SHARUHAAN
Mohamed Visham
30 June 2016, MVT 22:38

Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) lawmakers on Thursday decided to amend the law putting an age cap of 65 years for political party leaders in a bid to oust party president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom as the showdown with his half brother and incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom took an ugly turn.

The amendment would effectively put an end to Gayoom's rein as the PPM leader as the rift between him and Yameen widened over a controversial amendment to the Tourism Act.

The PPM parliamentary group's decision to oust former president Gayoom who is now 80 came shortly after a sit-down with president Yameen.

Gayoom on Wednesday assumed full control of the party amid a fallout from his failed attempt to get his party lawmakers to vote down the amendment which sought to bypass the bidding process in island lease for tourism.

Former president Gayoom (R) shakes the hand of his half brother and incumbent president Yameen at a ceremony. FILE PHOTO/PRESIDENT'S OFFICE

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.

Gayoom had also 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.

Shortly before the PG group's decision, Gayoom had rallied key members of the party to his side and constituted an advisory committee to find a solution to the deep divisions within the party he founded.

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