The People’s Alliance (PA) has said it would welcome registered members from fellow opposition groups like coalition partner the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) – currently embroiled in factional infighting – as it seeks to boost its support-base over the next year.
Party registrar Hiyaly Mohamed Rasheed told Minivan News that after agreeing though a council meeting back in 2009 to not take members from the DRP due to a coalition agreement between them, the group was now looking to bolster its current tally of 2,751 registered supporters from “all across the Maldives”. He claimed this membership drive would now also include members from the DRP, which is the country’s main opposition party and headed by MP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali.
The DRP has in recent months become embroiled in a bitter war of words between serving leader Thasmeen and his predecessor and former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The split between the two men and their respective supporters is reportedly linked to the party’s dismissal of former deputy leader Umar Naseer by its disciplinary committee last December.
Just last week, the DRP’s Council announced it had take the decision to forward a number of party members including DRP MPs Ahmed Mahlouf, DRP Deputy leader MP Ilham Ahmed and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s lawyer Mohamed Waheed to the party’s disciplinary committee.
The decision against the three men was taken over allegations that they had misled the public over the work and reputation of Thasmeen to further the interests of the so-called Z-DRP faction said to support Gayoom.
MP Ilham claimed at the time that the DRP charter did not allow the party’s leader to dismiss anyone who criticises them.
”The charter states that a deputy leader can be dismissed only if a third of the party’s congress votes to dismiss him,” Ilham said. ”There will be internal disputes in political parties, but this is not how to solve it.”
Thasmeen was unavailable for comment when contacted by Minivan News at the time of going to press.
Howver, the PA registrar claimed that the reports of DRP infighting had the potential to negatively set back wider political opposition in the country.
“I was once in the DRP,” Rasheed said. “Yet now the DRP has itself decided that there are two factions in the party, that means that it currently has problems,” he added.
The claims have been made as the PA announced that more than 100 people were registered as party members on Friday (April 15) as part of attempts to overtake the religious Adhaalath Party as the country’s third most supported political group. The PA is led by Abdulla Yamin, half brother of former President Gayoom.
Speaking to Haveeru yesterday, Mohamed Rasheed claimed that the PA was now working to almost double its membership base to 5,000 people by next month. Rasheed said he hoped the drive would bring the PA closer to matching the Adhaalath Party in terms of the size of support, which it estimates amounts to about 6000 members at present.