Government begins purge of JP political appointees

President Abdulla Yameen’s administration has begun “a purge” of political appointees belonging to former coalition partner Jumhooree Party (JP).

Speaking to Minivan News today, JP Secretary General Ahmed Sameer said nine political appointees, including one minister, three state ministers and five deputy ministers, have been dismissed following the JP’s expulsion from the ruling coalition with Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM).

“An individual’s political affiliation must not affect their employment. This country is no longer free. I call on President Yameen to stop this discrimination,” Sameer said.

According to the JP, Yameen dismissed Minister of Transport and Communication Ameen Ibrahim on Thursday. Since then, State Minister of Transport Ahmed Zubair, State Minister of Defense Mohamed Muizz Adnan, and State Minister of Environment Hassan Shah have also been dismissed, Sameer said.

Deputy Minister of Health Adam Zalif, Deputy Minister of Environment Athhar Haleem, Deputy Minister of Transport Ikram Hassan, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Hameed and Deputy Minister for Finance Hussain Zamir have also been dismissed.

Sameer dismissed rumors that existing JP ministers – Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed, Minister of Environment and Energy Thoriq Ibrahim and Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer – had joined the PPM.

He also condemned alleged attempts by PPM to recruit JP members to the ruling party.

President Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali was not responding to calls at the time of press.

PPM decided to unilaterally expel JP from the ruling coalition over JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim’s decision to stand for Speaker of the newly elected People’s Majlis. In Wednesday’s vote, Gasim narrowly lost the secret vote to PPM’s candidate Abdulla Maseeh.

PPM claimed Gasim’s decision breached the coalition agreement made between the two parties during November’s presidential election.

Gasim’s support was crucial in in Yameen’s win against the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

The tourism tycoon backed Yameen at the eleventh hour in exchange for a 35 percent stake in political appointees and a promise to contest parliamentary and local government polls jointly. The JP was allocated 33 percent of seats for the two subsequent polls.

The JP has previously complained about the PPM’s failure to appoint JP nominees to political positions, saying the party only received 29 of the 300 positions. The party alleges PPM breached the coalition agreement first.

With JP’s expulsion, only two smaller parties remain with PPM in the ruling coalition. They are Maldives Development Alliance and the religious Adhaalath Party.