Key positions within the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) were filled this weekend during elections at the party’s first ever congress.
Twelve out of the fourteen seats of PPM’s council were won by party members aligned with MP Abdulla Yameen, who is competing for the party’s presidential primary against interim Vice President of PPM, Umar Nasser.
Yameen’s half brother, former President of the Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was appointed PPM President after being the only candidate nominated for the post.
Yameen was also appointed Parliamentary Group Leader. Both Yameen and Gayoom were appointed to their respective positions without a vote, as no one else contested against them.
Gayoom’s daughter, Dhunya Maumoon was selected as PPM’s Women Branch President and Abdul Raheem Abdullah was appointed Deputy Leader of PPM Parliamentary Group Leader, also without contest.
Gayoom’s son, Faris Maumoon secured the highest number of votes by a single candidate at 419, while his other son, Ghassan Maumoon received 416 votes.
PPM Vice Presidency
Tourism Minister Ahmed Adheeb and PPM Parliamentary Group Deputy Leader Ilham Ahmed were elected as the first vice presidents of PPM.
Ilham received 301 votes while Raheem – who was later appointed as Deputy Leader of PPM Parliamentary Group Leader – received 268 votes.
The temporary results have not yet been officially announced at the congress, which is taking place at Darubaaruge, Malé.
PPM Council Member and lead activist of Umar Naseer’s presidential primary campaign team, Ibrahim Nazim was elected as President of PPM’s youth group.
Aminath Nadhaa was elected as vice president of the party’s youth group with 40 votes in favour.
PPM formed due to actions of Nasheed: Gayoom
Former autocratic ruler Gayoom, who presided over the Maldives for thirty years, said that PPM was formed due to the actions of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s government, local media reported.
Speaking during the PPM congress, the Gayoom claimed that government accountability was largely reduced during Nasheed’s presidency and assaults had become “commonplace”, Sun Online reported.
Gayoom added that PPM took part in the demonstrations held between 2011 and 2012 and that they are now part of the multi-party coalition that was formed following Nasheed’s controversial removal from power in February 2012, local media stated.
Under the ‘multi-party coalition’ that has since taken control of the country, a new bill enforcing limitations on such demonstrations and protests was recently ratified by President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik.
In a joint statement from local NGOs Transparency Maldives (TM) and Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) this month (January 2), it warned that the bill posed “serious challenges to the whole democratic system”.
The statement claimed that the bill could restrict the constitutional right to freedom of assembly (article 32), freedom of expression (article 27) and press freedom (article 28).
Speaking at the congress on Friday, Gayoom urged candidates who lost out, not to feel disheartened as the ‘opportunity to serve the nation was still available’, local media reported.
“Don’t think of it as an obstacle. The future is in your hands. The chance to serve the party and nation will become available,” the former President was quoted as saying in local newspaper Haveeru.