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Supreme Court annuls PPM leadership dispute cases

Fathmath Shaahunaz
05 February 2019, MVT 17:31
Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom speaks at MRM press conference. PHOTO/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
05 February 2019, MVT 17:31

Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the two cases filed regarding the leadership dispute of opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

The cases, which seek to hand over PPM's leadership from former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to his estranged half-brother, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, were filed at the Civil Court by Ahmed Rasheed and Ali Ahmed, two civilian members of the party.

The case files were forwarded to the Supreme Court after PPM filed complaints claiming that the lower court could not look into the cases.

During the hearing held Tuesday to announce the verdict, Chief Justice Dr Ahmed Abdulla Didi stated that both the High Court and Supreme Court had previously upheld the Civil Court's ruling to hand over PPM's leadership to Yameen in 2016, who at the time was the party's adviser. The Chief Justice further highlighted that both courts had also upheld the decisions taken in PPM's Extraordinary Congress last September.

Noting that the cases filed by the civilian members pertained to issues that were previously closed by the appellate courts, the Chief Justice declared that the Civil Court did not have the jurisdiction to look into such issues after verdicts have been issued by the higher courts.

Hence, the full bench of the Supreme Court unanimously agreed to annul the two cases.

In the wake of the top court's verdict, several members of PPM who support former President Gayoom have resigned from the opposition party. They include Gayoom's daughter and Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage Yumna Maumoon, Minister of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture Zaha Waheed, and Minister of Housing and Urban Development Aminath Athifa.

While the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of PPM's Congress and annulled the leadership dispute cases, Gayoom is currently working to establish his Maumoon Reform Movement (MRM) as a political party.

Meanwhile, some close aides of former President Yameen who were part of PPM's leadership, have also formed a new political party, People's National Congress (PNC).