Majlis accepts bill to amend disparities in divorce settlements

The people’s Majlis has accepted a bill seeking to amend the distribution of wealth following divorce, local media has reported.

The bill – introduces by Progressive Party of Maldives MP Ahmed Mahlouf – seeks to provide stricter guidelines to judges when deciding on divorce settlements.

Sun Online reported Mahlouf as saying that the bill would improve the terms for women by distributing wealth more evenly, in line with his party’s election manifesto’s promises to improve women’s rights.

On the subject of women’s rights, the manifesto proposes subsidized childcare system, allowing women to work from home through the internet, and connecting them to employers.

Gender quotas in the political arena and leadership skills courses for girls are also included, with the intention of equalising the workplace gender balance.

The bill was admitted after securing a narrow majority of MPs present at today’s session.

In 2012, 4660 people got married, while the same year nearly half that many people got divorced. Its estimated that every second marriage in the Maldives ends in divorce.


PPM to officially create party this month

Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) will hold an official party creation meeting on October 15. The party is headed by former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

PPM interim spokesperson MP Ahmed Mahloof told newspaper Haveeru that the meeting’s agenda includes electing an interim governing body, endorsing the party logo, flag and manifesto, and finalising the party’s charter.

The Maldives’ political parties regulation requires 300 members at a registration meeting. On September 20, PPM applied for registration with 3,600 signatures.


MDP MPs bolt chamber doors, demand sittings go ahead

Supporters and activists of both main parties surrounded the parliament building in protest today after a third consecutive sitting was disrupted by MPs of the main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party’s (DRP) breakaway Z-faction.

In a protest of their own, MPs of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) bolted the chamber doors and refused to let opposition MPs leave.

Maafanu North MP Imthiyaz Fahmy told Minivan News that MDP MPs shut the chamber door at about 1pm when the sitting resumed after being adjourned in the morning.

“We said Majlis has to go ahead because it has been stopped everyday while there are important economic bills to pass,” he said. “Every day they bring the sitting to a halt and everybody just goes home. Today we said nobody can leave.”

He revealed that the MDP MPs opened the doors at 2.30pm when sittings usually come to an end.

Imthiyaz strongly criticised the Z-DRP MPs for disrupting three consecutive sittings “on orders from [former President] Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.”

“Every day it is just three or four people stopping Majlis,” he said. “These Z-faction MPs don’t even have any legal status. Because if they belonged to a party, they would recognise the party’s leader and accept his decisions.”

Shortly after today’s sitting began at 9.00am, Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim adjourned it when Z-DRP MPs, Ahmed Mahlouf and Ahmed Ilham, refused to comply with an order to leave the chamber.

Both MPs were protesting in front of the secretariat desk when the Deputy Speaker ordered them out after repeatedly advising the MPs to return to their seat – the Z-DRP MPs have now disrupted three consecutive sittings after vowing to do so in protest of the recently approved committee composition.

Under article 54(f) of the parliamentary rules, sittings cannot continue if an MP ordered out remains in the chamber.

Minivan News will continue to cover the situation here as it develops.

2:38pm: MDP supporters have gathered near parliament and are attempting to climb inside. Police are in the area attempting to control the situation.

2:40pm: MDP activists told Minivan News they would “knock down” any opposition MP attempting to leave the parliament.

2:57pm: Activists outside are claiming: “You [MPs] have taken thousands from the state budget to pay your salaries, but have done nothing for the citizens.”

3:15pm: Independent MP Mohamed Nasheed said he left the building shortly before the incident began. MPs inside the building have so far not responded to calls.

3:16pm: Opposition MPs have left the building however MDP MPs remain in the chamber. Former Parliamentary Group Leader Reeko Moosa Manik told media that they would not leave until the sitting was resumed.

3:18pm: Opposition and ruling party supporters have gathered at the same gate and are trying to break the police line and enter parliament. Minivan News observed that the crowd includes supporters of both parties, one shouting about Gayoom (“Golhaabo”), the other about President Mohamed Nasheed (“Ganjabo”).

3.50pm: Scuffles have broken out between MDP and Z-DRP activists. Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam told Minivan News that police are attempting to “bring the situation under control.” Police have formed lines to separate the two groups of supporters.

4.10pm: According to the MDP website, chamber doors were opened shortly before 3pm and some opposition MPs have left the building.

5.42pm: Police have used pepper spray on the protestors while opposition MPs are reportedly being escorted out of the building under guard. Police are warning that the crowd will be dispersed by force.

6.23pm: Crowd has begun to disperse and thin out.

6.55pm: The MDP’s National Council has passed a resolution calling its members in the atolls to come to Male’ to participate in “a large demonstration” in protest of “the Majlis being hijacked by a few members encouraged by former President Maumoon [Abdul Gayoom].”

The resolution proposed by Madaveli MP Mohamed Nazim and seconded by Hoarafushi MP Ahmed Rasheed was passed with 58 votes in favour and two against.

6.57pm: A number of MDP activists are continuing the protest outside all three gates of parliament. The activists have issued a warning to police that they will storm the building between 8.00pm and 8.30pm. They continue to call for opposition MPs to come out.

8.45pm: MDP MP Ahmed Sameer has told protestors still outside parliament that the party is trying to hold a sitting tonight. Among the five MPs designated to preside over sittings in the absence of both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker include MDP parliamentary group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

10.40pm: Tomorrow’s agenda has been published on the Majlis website. Addressing protestors earlier tonight, MDP Chairperson “Reeko” Moosa Manik said that the rules of procedure allowed sittings to be held in the absence of either the Speaker or Deputy Speaker: “We don’t mind if it starts tomorrow morning or at 12 midnight, we are here to do this […] It is not the spirit of the constitution for two members to stop Majlis and bring it to a halt for weeks on end. We showed them today. We were able to bolt the doors and sit in front of the doors. We can do it again. They had to stay inside until we opened the door.”

Moosa alleged that the forced cancellations were “planned in advance at the Deputy Speaker’s office.” The former MDP parliamentary group leader said that the party was ready to pass all the taxation bills in one sitting if necessary.


Mahlouf alleges MDP offered him $US2 million to defect

Opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ahmed Mahlouf has hit out at opposition politicians switching their allegiances for financial gain, claiming he too was offered a bribe to defect.

Mahlouf claimed that he had been “personally told” that Ali Waheed would be switching his political allegiance for money, and further alleged that he had himself been offered US$2 million to join and vote in favour of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

“I don’t believe selling myself is a choice, but ever since I have known some of these MPs they have always wanted money,” he said.

Mahlouf alleged that it was only Ali Waheed who had taken money to join the MDP – a move he claimed was a coup for the country’s governing party.

“[Waheed] was loved by the DRP, but now that he’s gone he is nobody,” Mahlouf said. “President Nasheed will have the same feeling, so this is a good deal.”

Mahouf said that although the defections, which come as a number of DRP parliamentarians have switched sides in parliament, was a sad development for opposition supporters. However he said he believed it was on the other hand a positive development in regards to the loyalty of the remaining politicians.

The DRP MP’s allegations of bribes being used to entice opposition politicians to switch parties were refuted by MDP spokesperson Ahmed Haleem, who claimed that Ali Waheed’s defection reflected political ambition and not financial concern.

Haleem added that although it remains essential for the MDP to obtain a political majority in parliament to pass a reform agenda blocked by partisan opposition majority, recent defections by MPs including the former DRP Deputy Leader were made on political principal and not bribes.

“Ali Waheed and Abdu Raheem – these are young ambitious people that are not part of the Gayoom regime. The MDP is the country’s only true democratic party, unlike the DRP which is more like a family organisation,” he claimed. “Waheed has a future in politics in this country and I believe he is a clean guy. So while we need a parliamentary majority for the MDP, we do not want to be spending money we don’t have to get it. This is politics, not a football transfer market.”

Questioned over whether some MDP supporters would be sceptical of the intentions of a former opposition MP like Ali Waheed, who in his first speech as an MDP member last week accepted he had been “critical” of President Nasheed and his government in the past, Haleem said he believed members were overall happy at the defection.

“I think all MDP supporters will be very happy, our members are determined in that they want change in this country,” he said.

The DRP has attracted significant local media attention in recent months with factional infighting between supporters of serving leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and his predecessor Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. One reason for the strife, according to Mahlouf, was division over how to respond to the government’s financial reform program and decision to devalue the rufiyaa against the US dollar.

Speaking at rallies and gatherings held this week against government economic reforms, following a week of protests earlier this month in Male’, Mahlouf, who is linked to the Z-DRP faction of the party, said that the so-called “youth movement” behind the protests had decided to give the government time to try and address financial concerns before resuming demonstrations.

Haleem meanwhile claimed that while the protests had lost momentum due to a growing public acceptance and understanding of the need for economic changes bought forward by President Mohamed Nasheed, as well as the “weakening” of the DRP.

“I think you will find that 99 percent of people are fed up with the DRP, even three of the party’s members have [defected],” Haleem said. “People are accepting that financial changes are needed and the president has been stating these aims more clearly. We are a civilised country and we need direct taxation – such as the tourism general service tax (TGST) – the President is not just changing the political but also the economic situation in the Maldives.”

Speaking last night during a rally held at the artificial beach area of Male’, Mahlouf claimed that demonstrations held over the last few days had been organised by Thasmeen’s supporters and a number of local NGOs rather than the “youth movement” that had instigated protests earlier in the month.

“We need to be responsible politicians right now and protesting every night is not the only solution to the economic issues,” he said.  “We did a good job supporting the protesters, but it’s time to give some time to the government to try and make changes before we consider more protests.”

Addressing crowds of DRP supporters during last night’s gathering, which he said had drawn “huge crowds”, Mahlouf used his speech to attack the recent defection of a number of DRP politicians such as Ali Waheed to the MDP cause, as the party of President Nasheed seeks to entrench its long-sought parliamentary majority.


Opposition blames president for negative international coverage as protest talks continue

Opposition MP Ahmed Mahlouf has not ruled out future protests over living costs following a series of demonstrations held in Male’ over the last two weeks, claiming that President Mohamed Nasheed should personally take responsibility for any media attention that harms the Maldives’ global reputation as a result.

The MP’s comments follow a series of protests and gatherings held in Male’ over the last two weeks that the party said were initially organised by a non-political “youth movement”.

This movement is said to be focused on dealing with concerns at the rising costs of living and consumer goods in the country, and lead to protests that were included in a Washington Post list of the 29 largest government crackdowns of the last decade.

Organisers of the protests reportedly gathered on Friday night at the artificial beach area of Male’ for a meeting that that was described by newspaper Haveeru as an “anti-government” rally, with speeches from a number of political figures.

A police spokesperson said that the meeting was not treated by officers as a protest as it did not culminate on the capital’s streets.

After seven days of demonstrations across Male’ this month – purportedly in protest against the government’s decision to implement a managed float of the rufiyaa – police and protesters were witnessed clashing on a number of occasions leading to dismissed Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Deputy leader Umar Naseer being pepper sprayed.

The Washington Post coverage was used by the government to allege that opposition politicians have been attempting to “mislead” international media about the protests for political gain by deliberately skewing certain facts to compare themselves to mass anti-government demonstrations in Egypt earlier this year.

Concerns had additionally been raised by some travel industry insiders that coverage of the protests had led to travel warnings being issued in Honk Kong that could negatively impact travel to the Maldives from emerging holiday markets; though these worries are thought to have subsided over the course of this week.

Speaking to Minivan News today before travelling out of the country for a week, Mahlouf said that protest organisers were expected to give the government time to respond to their concerns over the prices of goods and services before officially setting a date for any potential future demonstrations.

“I don’t think we will see any other protests this week as there are school exams coming up. I think the protesters will also give the government some time,” he said. ”People have been drawn to protests due to concerns about prices, particularly with Ramazan a few months away.

With reports claiming rufiyaa was being exchanged at a rate of Rf17 to the US Dollar – despite government setting an upper limit of Rf15.42 at present due to the recenet managed float of the local currency, Mahlouf said that the situation remained a serious matter for protesters.

“The public are also seeing seven percent of their pay go into pension schemes as well,” he said. “In general these are difficult times for people.”

In light of coverage about the protests in papers like the US-based Washington Post, fears reportedly have risen about the potential impacts on the country’s lucrative tourism market. However, Mahlouf said he rejected government criticisms that opposition groups like the DRP had manipulated the scale of the protests.

“We have tried our best to get the attention of the international media and community with these protests,” he said. “President Nasheed has a very polished reputation in the global media through his work on issues like the environment. But back at home things are different. Recent elections have shown he doesn’t have support and it is our duty to inform others of this.”

Mahlouf is himself linked with the Z-DRP faction that as last month officially spun off from the main opposition DRP in support of the group’s former leader, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Mahlouf added that while he was “sad” to see last week’s series of protests being included in a Washington Post story relating to the 29 biggest government crackdowns of the decade, he claimed that the inclusion of the Maldives in the list was the fault of President Nasheed and his policies.

“The action taken by police to disperse crowds was brutal. We were part of peaceful protests. Yet despite being so peaceful, police still decided to do harmful things to us,” he claimed.

Mahlouf said he was among a group of people including former President Gayoom’s spokesperson Mohamed Hussain ‘Mundhu’ Shareef that gathered in Sri Lanka to meet with representatives of the EU, the US and Canada to “explain everything” that had occurred at the protests from their point of view earlier this week.

The MP claimed that he remained committed to trying to address the stated concerns of protesters over the affordability of living in the Maldives.
“This issue is very serious. I was personally invited by [protest] organisers to attend and with so many people turning up – I believe it is the duty of MPs to be there in support.”

Amidst reported public dissatisfaction with government financial policy, Mahlouf last week announced plans to forward a resolution to parliament calling for a referendum to test public support for President Nasheed and his handling of the economy in light of the protests witnessed in the capital over the month.

While still committed to following through with his referendum plan, the MP said that he would first need to consult his parliamentary and party colleagues, as well as lawyers to see if he would be able to send such a motion to the Majlis.


Mahlouf plots presidential “referendum” as stats show living cost rise

Official statistics supplied by the Department of National Planning have indicated a 4.42 percent increase in the rate of inflation last month compared to March 2011, as one opposition MP plans a referendum on President Mohamed Nasheed’s leadership over the dissatisfaction with living costs.

The new figures indicate increased prices for food and drink products last month, particularly for fish, on the basis of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) when compared to 2011 and April 2010.

The release of the statistics comes as MP Ahmed Mahlouf from the Z-DRP party, a spin-off of the main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), claimed to be ready to forward a resolution to parliament this week calling for a referendum to test public support for the current president and his handling of the economy.

Figures such as the CPI are therefore an important issue following seven consecutive nights of protests in the streets of Male’, with demonstrators announcing they were now willing to negotiate with the government.

Protest organisers have claimed the demonstrations were a non-partisan “youth movement” in response to rising living costs on the back of government attempts to effectively devalue the rufyiya.

Aside from criticising the political opposition for politicising the demonstrations in the media for their own political gain, the country’s financial authorities last week claimed that to be providing some economic support to try and stabilise prices it said that while increasing, varied significantly between different stores.

According to the latest planning department stats, the cost of food and beverages when including fish was up by 20.35 percent during April 2011 compared to the same period the previous year. These costs were also up by 10.65 percent on the same terms compared to March 2011.

When excluding the price of fish, the average cost of food and drinks last month was up by 13.07 percent compared to over the same period of time last year. On the same terms, the statistics found that food and beverage costs last month rose by 4.44 percent compared to March 2011.

When comparing the overall change in CPI between April 2011 and April 2010, increases in costs were recorded across the board with the exception of recreation and culture, which was down by 3.11 percent.

As of late month, healthcare was up by 6.25 percent, transportation was up by 8.96 percent, education was up by 16.89 percent and fish was up by 58.32 percent when compared over the same period the previous year.

Between March to April this year, the statistics showed that the costs of healthcare were up by 1.21 percent, transport was up by 6.56 percent and fish prices were up 42.07 percent. The full statistics can be found here.

Halt to protests

In light of protests last week over rising costs, DRP MP Ahmed Mahlouf told Minivan News today that the party would be postponing any further demonstrations relating until next Friday after requests from police.

In the meantime, he claimed that young people who had initially organised the protests were negotiation with members of the government, a meeting that had been organised through the police to try and find some possible compromises on costs.

“The meetings were scheduled to take place with the government at 12:00pm today though I have not been informed yet of their progress. I imagine that they [the protest organisers] would be demanding some changes to government policy,” he said. “The police have asked us to stop the protests and as some of their members supported the march, we have wanted to keep good relations with them.”

Mahlouf added that he believed there had been a reluctance among organisers to stop the protests as the government were failing to address concerns about costs and “not believing” the financial realities Maldivians were facing.

However, amidst intense media scrutiny, the opposition MP said he believed the protesters had succeeded in their aims to attempt to change government policy on the economy.

However, ahead of the next scheduled protest on Friday, Mahlouf claimed he plans to forward a parliamentary motion for a referendum on whether President Nasheed had sufficient support from the public to enact his planned reforms.

Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem last week criticised opposition parties like the DRP for “misleading” international media about the nature of the protests and failing to sit down and present their own alternatives for financial reforms in the country.


Gayoom reprimands DRP council for decision to discipline Mahlouf, Illham and Waheed

Honorary Leader of the main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom called on party’s council last night to take back its decision to recommend MPs Ahmed Mahlouf, Ahmed Ilham and Gayoom’s lawyer Mohamed Waheed for disciplinary action.

In a statement read out by daughter Yumna Maumoon at the ‘Gayoom faction’ rally at artificial beach, Gayoom warned that taking disciplinary action against the three council members would lead to further weakening of a party already riven by internal conflict.

“At such a critical moment, with party unity severely shaken and members despairing as a result of the decisions taken by the party’s council and the disciplinary committee, in violation of the party’s charter and democratic principles and with total disregard to the feelings of the party’s members, ever since Ahmed Thasmeen Ali assumed leadership, I deeply regret [the council’s decision] as it goes completely against the wishes of most common members and would only split the party even further,” Gayoom’s statement read.

Advising the council to retract the decision, Gayoom noted that “taking action against those you disagree with is not done anywhere that is run along democratic principles.”

“And [disciplinary action] is not allowed either by the Maldivian constitution or Islamic principles,” he said.

Deputy Leader Ilham and MP Mahlouf stands accused by the council of misleading the public about Thasmeen, disregarding the best interests of the party and violating the party’s charter.

Ilham however told Minivan News last week that “a Deputy Leader can be dismissed only if a third of the party’s congress votes to dismiss him.”

The DRP MP for Gemanafushi argued that any decision by the disciplinary committee to dismiss him would therefore be invalid.

Beginning with rumblings of discontent at the third DRP congress in March 2010 over disagreement regarding a presidential primary, the worsening factional split within the main opposition erupted in December that year following the dismissal of Deputy Leader Umar Naseer.

After condemning Thasmeen of “running the party dictatorially”, Gayoom has since withdrawn his support for Thasmeen as DRP’s presidential candidate for 2013.


DRP “disintegrating” as factions mull new party possibilities

At least one MP of the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has claimed the party is on the brink of “disintegrating”, and will almost certainly split due to infighting.

DRP MP Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News that realistically, the formation of separate parties could only be stopped by nothing short of a “miracle” reconciliation between its current leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and the party’s ‘honorary leader’, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

A growing split between Thasmeen – endorsed by Gayoom on his retirement and elected unopposed – and a faction consisting of dismissed former Deputy Leader Umar Naseer and serving party members including MP Ahmed Mahlouf, has engulfed the party since December.

The Umar Naseer faction of the party campaigned alongside former president Gayoom during a tour of a number of islands ahead of last month’s local council elections.

However, the disputes between these factions this week have appeared to reach crisis point as members of Gayoom’s family publically criticised the current leadership on television.

Gayoom’s daughter Yumna Maumoon said Thursday evening that DRP members were concerned that Thasmeen was ruling the party dictatorially, as well as failing to properly oppose the government of President Mohamed Nasheed. An official DRP statement later denied Thasmeen was able to act in such a way under the party’s required conventions and suggested its leader still had the full backing of members.

Yet according to Nihan, some in the party are already considering potential names for a new party potentially based around the identity and ideas of Gayoom himself, but it was a development he said that was ultimately regretful for the DRP.

“[Until yesterday] I have been actively campaigning for the party since it began. It is therefore a very sad moment that the party is disintegrating,” he said. “We have worked for the best of the party and for the legacy of Gayoom so we can all experience better things. This now seems unlikely due to misconception and misinformation.”

Although no decision is claimed to have been taken as to then formation of a new political party, Nihan added that it was clear that Gayoom, who remains honorary leader of the DRP, was “very unhappy” with the recent conduct of Thasmeen.

Nihan said that concerns had been raised about comments allegedly made by Thasmeen on broadcast media such as DhiTV, where he was alleged to have shown disrespect to the former president.

These concerns come on the back of leaked audio excerpts allegedly of DRP Deputy Leader Ibrahim ‘Mavota’ Shareef stating a preference for the rival Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) over a DRP led by Gayoom. Shareef later claimed that the recordings were his voice, but had been doctored out of context and leaked to the press.

Nihan said that now Thasmeen had publically spoken out in a manner that was disrespectful to the former president and DRP leader, the situation of factions within the party had been complicated further.

The MP went on to praise Yumna Maumoon’s decision to speak out for her father.  “What she did was excellent, coming out in support of her family,” he said.

Nihan stressed that the situation was not irreparable, but that keeping the DRP as a singular entity was unlikely.

“Maybe if some sort of miracle happens and these people can sit together and sort out their problems there may be a resolution,” he said. “Otherwise there will be a new party.”

While claiming to not side with either supporters of Thasmeen or Naseer in the DRP dispute, Nihan said he believed that it was down to the current party leader to try and solve the problems threatening to split the party.


Nihan said that should the “inevitable” occur and the factions go their separate ways in the political landscape of the Maldives, the survival of the DRP name was irrelevant compared to the importance of having Gayoom’s backing.

“It is important to remember that Mr Gayoom is retired and will not contest, he has clearly indicated that he will not run,” said Nihan. “However, we [the party] will always be with his ideas of politics.”

Nihan claimed that if a new party was to be formed, he had already received unofficial suggestions about new titles via SMS; such as a possible party under the Dhivehi acronym of the DRSP.

Adding that no formal decisions had been made on the issue, the MP said that the rights to use the actual DRP name was not thought to be too important as opposed to ensuring the support of Gayoom himself to party members and voters.

However, Nihan claimed that as he had been the designer of the party’s sailboat logo, under recently passed intellectual property laws, he held the rights to the image.

“I designed the logo, which received over 700 votes to be adopted as the symbol of the party on 21 July 2005,” he said. “If anyone tries to make a big deal of the issue then we can claim it. They have never paid me for the use of [the logo].”

DRP leader Thasmeen, Ahmed Mahlouf, Umar Naseer and representatives for Maumoon Abdul Gayoom were all unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

Speaking to Minivan News yesterday, DRP MP Rozaina Adam said that according to the party’s rules, former President Gayoom’s position as ‘Honorary Leader’ did not give him a say in the political running of the party.

“The political leader of the party is Thasmeen. He is the one who is legally responsible for the actions of the party. It is the DRP Council that votes on a course of action, not former President Gayoom,” Rozaina said.

She speculated that much of the tension within the party revolved around the Council’s decision last year to send former Deputy Leader Umar Naseer to the party’s disciplinary committee, which made the decision to remove Naseer from the DRP.

“It was the Council that voted to send Umar Naseer to the disciplinary committee, which made a decision regarding the issue, not Thasmeen himself,” Rozaina said, adding that it was doubtful whether Thasmeen even had the authority to change the decision of the committee.

The DRP had a review committee, Rozaina said, “but Umar did not even apply for that. Instead he went and complained like a little boy to Mr Gayoom, to try and get him to change the decision.”
A split was looking inevitable, she suggested.

“Right now it looks like we are heading towards that. A lot of members in the Gayoom faction have been talking about creating a new party. It probably will split – I don’t see us getting along or working together.”
Even in the event of a split, Rozaina said it was unlikely that the opposition’s parliamentary majority would be threatened. While there were five DRP MPs on Gayoom’s side, both sides were still working against the ruling MDP, she said.

The Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), led by former Attorney General Hassan Saeed, has already joined Thasmeen’s side of the DRP as a new coalition partner.

Rozaina said the party’s other coalition partner, the People’s Alliance, had been leaning in support of Gayoom’s side.

“There’s been a lot of rumours that [PA Leader and half brother of Gayoom] Abdulla Yameen is behind all this, and that this is something he has been planning from within,” Rozaina suggested.

DRP MP Dr Abdulla Mausoom told Minivan News that while he had no comment on any specific allegations, he was “very happy” with the democratic processes within the party.

“Every decision is made in a democratic manner,” he said.