Deputy Leader and MP of the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Ali Waheed has submitted his resignation letter to the DRP Office this morning, amid rumors that he is about to join ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).
Relevant sources have confirmed to Minivan News that Waheed submitted his resignation to the DRP Office this morning, and that the MDP will hold a special ceremony tomorrow night where Waheed will sign with the MDP.
Ali Waheed has not been responding to calls from any media since rumours of his decision began to circulate last weekend. He has so far only said that if he makes a political decision, he will make it publicly to the media and the people.
A senior MDP official speaking on condition of anonymity told Minivan News that Waheed will join MDP tomorrow night, “along with two other DRP MPs.”
He also claimed that the MPs were not joining the MDP for money, as claimed by the opposition’s Gayoom faction MP Ahmed Nihan earlier this week.
”They decided to join the MDP because of the internal conflict in their party,” the source said. “The MPs feel worried and insecure, so they are moving towards a direction where they have a future,” he said. ”Due to this internal conflict in the party the MPs on the side of DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali in particular are very concerned. Those MPs did not shift sides for cash, they are very loyal to Thasmeen.”
He said that Thasmeen and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom will try and hold the remaining MPs in the party, but said that the MPs were “very concerned and worried about their future.”
”If Gayoom wants to run for the presidency during the next elections, he will have to do it right, according to the party’s charter,” the source said.
DRP Deputy Leader and Spokesperson Ibrahim ‘Mavota’ Shareef recently told Minivan News that rumours of Waheed’s impending departure were “propaganda to try to discredit some of us in the party.”
“Ali Waheed is a rising star with widespread support, and it would be a great blow to the party if he were to leave,” Shareef acknowledged.
Thasmeen meanwhile told Minivan News that he would not believe Waheed had joined MDP until he saw it actually happen.
Changing political landscape
The recent election of another former opposition MP – Alhan Fahmy – to the deputy leadership of the ruling party may be a key factor in luring ambitious MPs from the troubled opposition. However if rumours of money changing hands proved true, several MDP members have privately expressed concern that this risked unsettling grassroots members loyal to the ruling party from the beginning. Further discontent is likely on the islands among those constituents who voted for a party, rather than the MP.
The MDP also risks importing potential skeletons into the party along with the MP, such as the case with former Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) MP Hassan Adhil who is currently under house arrest and facing charges of child molestation.
Furthermore, the departure of MPs loyal to Thasmeen’s faction will place further pressure on the more prosaic side of the opposition, limiting its ability to resist the leadership ambitions of Gayoom’s far less compromising ‘Z-Faction’ and risks greater destabilisation of the opposition.
The MDP has however struggled to pass legislation in the opposition-majority parliament, and is fervently seeking to tip the balance in its favour and gain control of the legislature to push through difficult bills such as the revised penal code, evidence bill, and income tax for people earning over Rf30,000.
Control of parliament would also give the MDP levers with which to address the challenges facing the judiciary and independent institutions in the country.