The campaign for the vice presidency

Vice president Mohamed Jameel Ahmed remains in London and will issue a written response ahead of his imminent impeachment as supporters of the tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb began a campaign backing him for the position. His appointment as the new vice president appeared momentarily in doubt this week

Adeeb’s supporters have been on the streets asking people to take a photo carrying a poster with the words “I support Adeeb for VP.”

The impeachment vote has not been scheduled at the Majlis yet. But Jameel was notified of the impeachment motion on July 2 and given 14 days to respond.

Rumors had spread this week that the Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the president of the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and half-brother to President Abdulla Yameen, favored another candidate.

Gayoom today denied rumors he favors specific candidate in a tweet. “It is not true that I have a preference for a particular person to become vice president,” he said.

The appointment of a deputy is the sole prerogative of the president, Gayoom added.

PPM ally, the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), also denied rumors its leader Ahmed Siyam Mohamed was interested in the position.

The parliament in late June amended the constitution to set new age limits of 30-65 years for the presidency and vice presidency. The amendment bars Gayoom, who is in his early 80s and has already served six terms, from contesting presidential elections.

The lower age cap makes Adeeb eligible. He is 33. The constitution had previously said that candidates must be above 35 years of age.

The move appears to have widened a rift between the Gayoom brothers. Gayoom’s son MP Faris Maumoon was absent from a vote on the constitutional amendment despite a three-line whip.

Faris’ absence led to a heated exchange on text messaging service Viber between the newly elected MP and Adeeb.

PPM MPs have publicly accused Jameel of incompetence and disloyalty. But the opposition claims Yameen is fatally ill and wants a more loyal deputy ahead of a major surgery. The government continues to deny rumors over the president’s ill-health.

Soon after the amendment to the constitutional amendment passed, Jameel suddenly left the country. He told the New Indian Express his impeachment is a constitutional coup.

Meanwhile, President Yameen, in a meeting with PPM MPs on July 7, reportedly said he does not trust his deputy and showed them Viber messages exchanged between Jameel and opposition politicians ahead of a historic anti-government protest on May 1.

PPM MP Mohamed Musthafa in a tweet subsequently said the president had shown them evidence that Jameel had been planning a coup.

In the messages, Jameel had reportedly asked a lead organizer of the protest if the opposition will support his takeover of the presidency if protesters were able to oust Yameen on May Day.

The protest had ended with the arrest of nearly 200 protesters in violent clashes. Some 20,000 people had taken to the streets in the largest anti-government action in Maldivian history.

Jameel was not available for comment at the time of going to press.

The PPM has secured opposition backing for the impeachment motion with 61 signatures. A two-thirds majority or 57 votes will be required to vote Jameel out of office.

The parliament has amended its standing orders to fast track the vice president’s impeachment.

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) backed the constitutional amendment to make Adeeb eligible for the vice presidency when the government transferred jailed opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed to house arrest.

The government and the MDP have now begun talks, raising hope of an end to a six-month long political crisis.


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