The tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb has dismissed rumours he may be appointed as the new vice president. “All rumours, I have no interest at this stage,” he told Minivan News.
Local daily Haveeru reported yesterday that a constitutional amendment, proposing an age limit of 30-65 years for the president and vice president, was aimed at making Adeeb eligible for the position.
Adeeb is now 33. The Constitution says the president and vice president must be over 35 years of age.
The amendment was proposed by MP Mohamed Ismail of the ruling coalition partner Maldives Development Alliance (MDA).
Haveeru suggested ruling coalition MPs might also amend the Constitution to authorise the president to appoint or dismiss his deputy.
The relationship between president Abdulla Yameen and vice president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed is reportedly under strain. Dr Jameel was very active during the presidential campaign, but is rarely seen in public now.
His cousin, Mohamed Maleeh Jamal, was dismissed from the cabinet on Thursday. The government did not provide a reason for the dismissal.
Ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives’ (PPM) parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News that MPs will hold discussions before backing MP Ismail’s constitutional amendment.
A two-third majority or 63 votes of the 85 member house is required to amend the constitution.
The PPM and MDA control some 48 seats and will need the backing of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) or Jumhooree Party (JP) to approve the amendment.
In December, MP Ismail had proposed capping the age limit for the presidency at 65 years of age, but withdrew the bill in March.
At the time, local media said the proposal was aimed at barring JP leader Gasim Ibrahim from contesting the 2018 presidential elections. Gasim would be 66 in 2018.
Ismail said he had withdrawn the amendment on the request on the ruling party’s leaders.
The move came after Gasim met with the tourism tycoon Mohamed ‘Uchchu’ Moosa and the tourism minister during the trial of ex-president Mohamed Nasheed.
Gasim’s JP in January split from the ruling coalition and allied with Nasheed’s MDP and launched daily protests against what it called government authoritarianism.
Nasheed was jailed for 13 years on terrorism charges on March 13.
The government in April froze the accounts of several subsidiary companies of Gasim’s Villa Group over a US$90.4 million fine, which the company insists is illegal.