The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) has dismissed rumors that President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom may leave the party as “baseless and false”.
“We assure our beloved members [Gayoom] will not leave this party and join another party or take on any position in another party,” said a statement released on Tuesday (November 18).
The former president of 30 years was elected as PPM president at the party’s 2012 congress, a year after his acrimonious split from the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP).
The statement came in response to rumors Gayoom may rejoin the DRP, local media have said.
Speculation of tension between Gayoom and his half brother President Abdulla Yameen has grown since the PPM parliamentary group’s decision to reject Gayoom’s choice for the post of Prosecutor General, his nephew Maumoon Hameed.
However, the two have presented a united front with joint-appearances at party functions on PPM’s third anniversary in power.
Gayoom on November 13 congratulated Yameen for allegedly fulfilling majority of pledges in the PPM manifesto and said Maldivians had found new life in Yameen’s presidency.
Gayoom had founded the DRP in 2005 and ran on the party ticket for the 2008 multiparty presidential election. When he lost, Gayoom retired from politics and handed over the party reigns to him former running mate Ahmed Thasmeen Ali.
He was then given the title of Zaeem or Honorary leader.
Thasmeen defected to the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) during the presidential elections of September 2013 after he and former President Dr Mohamed Waheed gained only five percent of the popular vote.
MP ‘Colonel’ Mohamed Nasheed – who had defected to the DRP from the MDP – ahead of the presidential vote took over DRP and announced a rebrand effort. He has said the next DRP congress will see a resolution to award Gayoom the title of Zaeem again.
Nasheed has previously described the party as now being in the ‘ICU’, accusing the party’s former leadership of leaving behind MVR10million in debt (US$ 64,5161) and abandoning the party with its data and assets.
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