The opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP)’s Thulusdhoo branch has released a statement to the media claiming that supporters of the DRP in Thulusdhoo will “shift sides” if the internal split in the party continues.
‘’We call on former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and DRP Zaeem (honorary leader) to solve the internal dispute within the party,’’ read the statement,signed by the Deputy Head of Thulusdhoo Branch.
The statement acknowledged that DRP supporters were “in turmoil and deeply confused due to the split” and warned that those supporters in Thulusdhoo might have to change sides if the dispute remained unresolved.
‘’The citizens can no longer tolerate watching members leave the party,’’ the DRP branch stated, in reference to the recent defections of several DRP MPs to the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), including Ali Waheed Abdulla Abdu-Raheem. ‘’Consequently it will the ordinary citizens living in the islands that will suffer, due to the unrest and loss of members.’’
The branch added ‘’that as Maumoon was the person who introduced democracy to the Maldives, who led the Maldives for 30 prosperous years and is a person who lives in a democracy, we call on Maumoon to solve the dispute between the leadership democratically.’’
Thulusdhoo is an island with a majority of DRP supporters who voted for the party in the recent local council elections.
Since then, the party has been split after ‘honorary’ leader Gayoom clashed with the party’s leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali over the dismissal of former Deputy Leader Umar Naseer. Gayoom’s supporters have since created a splinter faction they call the Z-DRP, in a move that prompted the defection of several MPs previously loyal to Thasmeen.
DRP MP Dr Abdulla Mausoom said the statement issued by Thulusdhoo’s DRP branch showed that the remaining supporters in the party wished it to be unified.
‘’To do that firstly, everyone in the party must fully respect the party’s charter,’’ Dr Mausoom said. ‘’There are different ways people express concern – some put more effort to solve the dispute, while others leave the party in frustration.’’
He said to uphold democracy in this country a strong, responsible opposition party was needed.
‘’The entire nation believes that the DRP is an opposition party which has to be there to uphold democracy,’’ he said. ‘’Although there are some internal disputes, we will solve them hopefully and by God’s will we will win the 2013 Presidential Elections under Thasmeen’s leadership.’’
Z-DRP spokesperson Ahmed Nihan was unavailable at time of press.