Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has been sacked from the cabinet by President Dr Mohamed Waheed, two days after he was unveiled as the running mate of the government-aligned Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen.
“I am being informed by HEP Dr Waheed that I have been dismissed from my post as Home Minister for joining PPM & becoming running mate,” Jameel tweeted today.
Jameel added that he remained “determined to serve the nation” and expressed gratitude to President Waheed and the cabinet “for the opportunity I received to work together.”
“I extend my well wishes to HEP Dr Waheed and his team’s attempt to win the upcoming election which PPM will also attempt to win and succeed,” he wrote.
Dr Jameel is currently campaigning with PPM presidential candidate Yameen in Addu City.
In August 2007, then-Justice Minister Jameel along with then-Attorney General Dr Hassan Saeed resigned from former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s cabinet citing obstruction of political reforms and launched the latter’s presidential campaign.
After Dr Saeed came third in the first round of the October 2008 presidential election, the former ‘New Maldives’ ministers “unconditionally” backed Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate Mohamed Nasheed in the second round run-off against Gayoom.
The pair were appointed special advisor to the president and minister of civil aviation and communication, respectively, in the MDP-led government that took office in November 2008.
Jameel was however sacked as civil aviation minister on May 31, 2009 following public criticism of the government ahead of the parliamentary elections earlier that month, which was also contested by Jameel’s Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP).
“Some people say he was a bit abrasive,” President Mohamed Nasheed’s press secretary told Minivan News at the time.
Prior to Jameel’s dismissal, President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad told the press that having a rival candidate’s running mate as the home minister would create a conflict of interest.
In addition to the PPM, the other main parties in the ruling coalition have fielded presidential candidates, including MP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali from the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) and tycoon MP Gasim Ibrahim from the Jumhooree Party (JP).
Dr Hassan Saeed’s DQP and the religious conservative Adhaalath Party have meanwhile entered a formal coalition with Dr Waheed’s Gaumee Ihthihaad Party (GIP).
Speaking at Thursday night’s PPM ceremony to unveil Dr Jameel as running mate, former President Gayoom reportedly said that a sitting president should not be allowed to seek re-election if a serving cabinet minister could not become another candidate’s running mate.
On the same night, DRP Leader Thasmeen said at a rally on the island of Thulusdhoo in Male’ atoll that the party was concerned with Dr Jameel’s administration of the home ministry.
The former minority leader of parliament said that the DRP could have worked with the opposition MDP to pass a no-confidence motion against the home minister but the party instead “prioritised national interest.”
Jameel’s dismissal also follows friction between the PPM – the largest party in the governing coalition – and President Dr Waheed.
MP Abdulla Yameen told newspaper Haveeru last week that some PPM members were joining Dr Waheed’s party.
Yameen expressed disappointment with Mohamed Naseer, brother of slain PPM MP Afrasheem Ali, actively working with Dr Waheed’s GIP after the PPM campaigned to elect Afrasheem’s younger brother Ibrahim Ameen to parliament.
Yameen also referred to rumours of the possible defection of PPM MP Ahmed Shareef to GIP over dissatisfaction with a stalled airport project in his constituency.