A crowd gathered outside DRP headquarters was this morning calling for the resignation of Party Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and Spokesperson Ibrahim ‘Mavota’ Shareef.
The call came in response to an audio clip allegedly of Shareef, aired on MNBC and DhiFM, in which he apparently expresses a preference for MDP over former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Gayoom would never leave if returned to the leadership, Shareef apparently says, during a campaign trip in Addu.
Minivan News is trying to determine the authenticity of the audio with Shareef, however his phone was turned off at time of press. Thasmeen was not responding.
Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed that a crowd gathered outside the DRP headquarters had tried to attack Shareef, “so police put him into a vehicle and took him to a safe area. He is not in police custody.”
Haveeru reports that Thasmeen and the DRP council will meet at the office shortly, however it notes that Gayoom’s members on the council – his daughter Dhunya Maumoon and former Attorney General Aishath Azima Shukoor – did not appear to be in attendance.
The DRP underwent a major factional split following the dismissal of Deputy Leader Umar Naseer by the party’s disciplinary committee, an incident which came to blows in December 2010 when Naseer and his supporters gatecrashed a DRP rally at Ghiyasuddin International School celebrating the departure of seven of President Mohamed Nasheed’s cabinet ministers on a successfully-prosecuted constitutional technicality.
Naseer claims he does not recognise his removal from the party as legitimate despite confirmation from the Elections Commission. The return of Gayoom to politics and the backing of the party’s ‘honorary leader’ consolidated support for Naseer in the party, and the two campaigned together during the local council election while Thasmeen campaigned seperately.
This mornings’s events suggest the frosty civility between the two factions in the lead-up to the election may be diminishing, as the fielding of multiple opposition candidates in many council electorates may have split the votes and needlessly handed wins to the ruling party.