“Reliable sources” say MDP’s Shifag to defect to PPM

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Shifag Mufeed is set to join the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), local media has claimed, citing “reliable sources” within the government aligned-party.

MDP Spokesman Hamid Abdul Ghafoor had confirmed that the party would be taking disciplinary measures against Shifag after he broke a three-line whip on April 25, voting to endorse the government’s nominations for the vice-presidency as well as fourteen cabinet appointees.

Shifag was the sole representative from the MDP at the majlis session last month after the party boycotted the ratification process. The forty-five MPs present voted unanimously to endorse all appointees.

Shifag’s defection to the PPM would bring the party’s total number of supporters in the People’s Majlis up to 18, according to Haveeru.

The party, headed by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was formed in October 2011 after the DRP divided in two.  The PPM won its first seat in the Majlis last month after Ahmed Shareef won the Thimarafushi by-election, assuming the minority parliamentary leadership.

Under parliament law, the PPM was required to have at least one MP voted in under the party’s own ticket before its MPs – who were all elected under different groups such as the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) – could officially represent it in the Majlis chamber.