Former President Mohamed Waheed has decided to join the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) after his Gaumee Ihthihaad Party (GIP – National Unity Party) was dissolved by the party’s council.
Waheed signed for the PPM at a special event attended by President Abdulla Yameen held today.
Other members of the GIP’s leadership also signed for the PPM alongside Waheed.
This includes his political advisor Ahmed Thaufeeq, State Minister of Education Abdulla Nazeer, former President’s Office Spokesperson Masood Imad, Maldivian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Hussain Shihab, former Immigration Controllers Dr Mohamed Ali and Ilyas Hussain Ibrahim, Adnaan Ali and Jaufar Easa Adam.
Waheed said his decision to join PPM is in the best interest of the nation at the current time. He praised PPM for winning “a very competitive and difficult election”, saying it is the PPM that is most capable of overcoming obstacles and facing up to challenges.
GIP Council member Thaufeeq informed local media that the council members had unanimously made the decision to dissolve the party as they did not believe it wise to continue running the party in the present political and economic circumstances.
“We agreed that the current political and economic situation makes it difficult for small parties to function here. We believe that dissolving the party would be beneficial to the nation and citizens as the state spends large amounts from its budget on funding small political parties,” Thaufeeq said.
Waheed himself led the meeting attended by all ten council members of the party.
Thaufeeq confirmed that the party would complete sending in all formal documentation needed to dissolve the party to the Elections Commission by Thursday.
According to the Elections Commission (EC) website, the GIP – which was officially registered on September 4, 2008 – currently has 5864 signed members.
The EC has sent a letter to all parties comprising less than 10,000 members notifying them that they will be dissolved within three months after the ratification of the Political Party Act in September.
In March, when the draft of the political party bill was being discussed, several smaller parties began membership drives to reach the limit of 10,000 members, including the GIP, business tycoon MP Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhooree Party and the religious conservative Adhaalath Party.
Waheed’s GIP was accused of trying to induce people to join throughillegitimate means, in a bid to shore up the party’s membership base. The inducements included offering “music equipment and a place to play for free” as well as “hosting shows and parties” for young people.
Apart from luxurious parties and entertainment, the GIP also allegedly promised highly paid government jobs and promotions in return for joining the party.