Gayoom denies meeting DRP leader

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has denied meeting acting leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), Mohamed ‘Colonel Nasheed, at the latter’s resort during the Eid holidays, reports Raajje TV.

An MP from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) told the opposition-aligned private broadcaster on condition of anonymity that Gayoom – leader of the PPM – posted a message on a viber group of the party’s parliamentary group denying reports by newspaper Haveeru last week.

“The story in today’s Haveeru about a supposed meeting between me and DRP vaguthee [acting] leader in Kanifushi resort is totally false,” read Gayoom’s message.

“True, my family and I are spending a short family holiday at Atmosphere Kani. But no political activity has taken place. The story is fabricated from A to Z.”

Citing a source from the resort, Haveeru reported on Thursday (July 31) that Gayoom’s children – Farish Maumoon and Gassan Maumoon – as well as son-in-law Ahmed Nadheem also participated in lengthy secret talks with Nasheed over the course of two days.

The local daily further claimed that the PPM parliamentary group’s decision to endorse Muthaz Muhsin as the new prosecutor general in defiance of Gayoom’s appeal for them to vote for his nephew Maumoon Hameed has caused divisions within the ruling party.

Former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Nasheed – who switched to the DRP in March 2013 – has also denied holding discussions with Gayoom regarding the DRP’s future, informing Raajje TV that he only welcomed Gayoom to the resort and offered due respect to a former president.

Nasheed had told Haveeru that there was “no reason” for Gayoom to return to the party he founded in 2005.

Nasheed took over as DRP leader following the en masse departure of the party’s former leadership to the MDP.

Despite a rebranding effort with Nasheed at the helm, the party failed to win any seats in this year’s parliamentary and local council elections.

Gayoom had meanwhile left the party in 2011 following a dispute with former leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and formed the PPM with the loyalist Z-DRP faction.