Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Mohamed Musthafa has claimed that tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb will become the new vice president on Independence Day, July 26.
The ruling party MP tweeted today: “Bro is now a brand. Independence day will dawn with the new term of the new vice president. The nation is with bro.”
— Mohamed Musthafa (@Thimarafushi) June 14, 2015
Opposition supporters refer to Adeeb as “bro” over his alleged links with criminal gangs.
Musthafa’s tweet follows parliament last week accepting for consideration a constitutional amendment proposing an age limit of 30 to 65 years for the president and vice president.
The proposed amendment has fuelled speculation of President Abdulla Yameen planning to replace Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed with Adeeb, who is now 33 and ineligible for the position.
The constitution states that presidential candidates must be at least 35 years of age.
Dismissing the “rumours” last month, Adeeb told Minivan News that he has “no interest at this stage.”
In a tweet last night, PPM parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nihan also referred to Adeeb as “our vice president”. Adeeb is also the vice president or deputy leader of the PPM.
“Our vice president is the hope of this country’s youth,” the majority leader tweeted.
— Ahmed Nihan (@ahmed_nihan) June 13, 2015
Adeeb is currently in Thaa atoll with several PPM MPs, including Musthafa and Nihan. The tourism minister attended the opening ceremony of a futsal pitch in Thimarafushi last night.
Last month, newspaper Haveeru suggested that the ruling coalition might also amend the constitution to authorise the president to appoint or dismiss his deputy. Alternately, the pro-government majority could remove Jameel with a no-confidence motion.
The relationship between President Yameen and Dr Jameel is reportedly under strain. His cousin, Mohamed Maleeh Jamal, was dismissed from the cabinet last month. The government did not provide a reason for the dismissal.
A three-quarters majority or 64 votes will be needed to amend the constitution. The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and coalition partner Maldives Development Alliance controls 48 seats in the 85-member house.
The ruling coalition will need the backing of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) or Jumhooree Party (JP) MPs to pass the amendment.
Several JP MPs were among the 44 lawmakers who voted in favour of accepting the constitutional amendment last week. The bill is currently at committee stage for review.
If passed, the amendment will bar JP leader Gasim Ibrahim from contesting the next presidential election. The business tycoon will be 66 in 2018.
During last week’s parliamentary debate, PPM MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla said amending the constitution might be necessary “under some circumstances” to allow the president to replace a “disloyal” vice president.
“I’m not saying at all that we are trying to bring a particular person to the vice presidency. But if it has to be done, the PPM parliamentary is ready,” he said.