Honorary Leader of the main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom called on party’s council last night to take back its decision to recommend MPs Ahmed Mahlouf, Ahmed Ilham and Gayoom’s lawyer Mohamed Waheed for disciplinary action.
In a statement read out by daughter Yumna Maumoon at the ‘Gayoom faction’ rally at artificial beach, Gayoom warned that taking disciplinary action against the three council members would lead to further weakening of a party already riven by internal conflict.
“At such a critical moment, with party unity severely shaken and members despairing as a result of the decisions taken by the party’s council and the disciplinary committee, in violation of the party’s charter and democratic principles and with total disregard to the feelings of the party’s members, ever since Ahmed Thasmeen Ali assumed leadership, I deeply regret [the council’s decision] as it goes completely against the wishes of most common members and would only split the party even further,” Gayoom’s statement read.
Advising the council to retract the decision, Gayoom noted that “taking action against those you disagree with is not done anywhere that is run along democratic principles.”
“And [disciplinary action] is not allowed either by the Maldivian constitution or Islamic principles,” he said.
Deputy Leader Ilham and MP Mahlouf stands accused by the council of misleading the public about Thasmeen, disregarding the best interests of the party and violating the party’s charter.
Ilham however told Minivan News last week that “a Deputy Leader can be dismissed only if a third of the party’s congress votes to dismiss him.”
The DRP MP for Gemanafushi argued that any decision by the disciplinary committee to dismiss him would therefore be invalid.
Beginning with rumblings of discontent at the third DRP congress in March 2010 over disagreement regarding a presidential primary, the worsening factional split within the main opposition erupted in December that year following the dismissal of Deputy Leader Umar Naseer.
After condemning Thasmeen of “running the party dictatorially”, Gayoom has since withdrawn his support for Thasmeen as DRP’s presidential candidate for 2013.