The national council of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) will take no confidence votes against the party’s President Dr Ibrahim Didi and Vice President MP Alhan Fahmy, at the council’s 104th meeting scheduled for today.
The no-confidence motion is the second to be forwarded against the party’s leadership this month.
According to a statement from the party, the motion was put forward by the newly-elected Secretary General of the Party’s Parliamentary Group and International Spokesperson, Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, and was seconded by Mohamed ‘Ziyattey’ Ziyaadh, the former Executive Services Secretary of the President’s Office.
The MDP stated that the motion had been raised because both Didi and Fahmy had been making public statements contrary to a resolution passed on February 8, recognising that former President Mohamed Nasheed and his cabinet were ousted by illegitimate means through a coup d’état. The MDP maintained that as the transfer of power was illegal, former President Nasheed and his cabinet should continue to sit in the National Council as senior members of government.
Facing pressure following its controversial ousting from power on February 7, the MDP’s founding leadership has come up against its ambitious new leadership, elected during the party’s internal elections in May 2011.
Ghafoor alleged that some senior figures were trying to bring about a coup within the party.
“I forwarded the resolution because [Alhan and Didi] have been making malicious statements intended to incite chaos and conflict among ordinary members of the party and the party activists. Making such statements at such a fragile time is damaging to the party,” Ghafoor told Minivan News.
A similar motion was forwarded earlier this month by the party’s Chair of Elections Committee and former head of National Social Protection Agency (NSPA), Ibrahim Waheed, calling for a “confidence assessment” of the party’s current senior leadership.
“I submitted the resolution in accordance with the MDP Constitution. The reason for the submission was that some of the party’s leaders have been issuing statements and interviews against the MDP’s Constitution, after the coup on February 7,” Waheed told Minivan News at the time.
However, the National Council at the last minute decided not to proceed with the vote.
Speaking to Minivan News, MDP President Dr Ibrahim Didi stated that he did not believe such a motion could be taken. He questioned the authenticity of the scheduled National Council meeting, claiming that it was in conflict with previously set precedents.
“As a principle, the National Council is usually held in consultation with the party leadership. The reason for holding a council meeting and its agenda has to be discussed with the Party President or Vice President. Especially at such a fragile time, they did not do so,” he said.
Didi claimed said that the courts of the country had recognised him as the legitimate leader of the MDP and referred to a recent court case in which the MDP’s legal team sued the government for dismantling its protest camp at Raalhugandu in Male’.
Civil Court Judge Aisha Shujoon dismissed the case stating that it had been filed at the court by the Interim Chairperson of the party, MP Moosa Manik, who she contended did not have authority to sign on behalf of MDP according to the party’s constitution.
The case was subsequently resubmitted under Didi’s signature, and is proceeding.
“Even the courts have recognised the authority of the party leadership and I do not believe the National Council can vote me out because I am elected from a direct vote,” he said.
Didi also said that he would not participate in today’s scheduled meeting even though he was able to sit in the council as a member of former President Nasheed’s cabinet.
“I do not believe that the cabinet is legitimate because the party constitution states that the Party President has to form the party cabinet,” Didi added.
Ghafoor argued that he had proposed the motion in accordance to the party’s constitution, article 30 clause (f) which states that the National Council is able “to debate and assess the confidence of the President of the Party or the Vice President of the Party or the Chairperson or a Deputy Chairperson, if the members of the party submits a complaint disapproving their actions.”
Despite Didi’s claims, Minivan News observed that Didi was present and participated in the national council meeting held on February 8 in which the party passed a resolution recognising former President Nasheed and his cabinet.
Following the controversial transfer of power on February 7, the pressures of sudden opposition have deepened existing internal rifts between senior figures of the party.
The MDP has already decided to take action against its MP, Shifaaq ‘Histo’ Mufeed, after he voted against party whip-line in the parliament session held to approve the new cabinet and vice-presidential nominee Waheed Deen.
The MDP had earlier decided to boycott the session arguing that the session was illegitimate, since the party did not recognise the legitimacy of the government of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan, and repeating the party’s allegations that Waheed came to power in a coup d’état. The party argued that the session could not be legal because it was held to approve a government that came to power by illegal means.
However, despite the party’s whip-line on its MPs to not to take part in the session, MP Mufeed participated in the session and voted in favor of approving both the cabinet of President Waheed and Vice Presidential appointee Waheed Deen.
President Waheed’s cabinet and the vice presidential appointee Waheed Deen were approved by the remainder of sitting MPs unanimously by 45 votes of the usually 77-strong chamber, including MP Mufeed’s vote.
MDP Parliamentary Group Leader, MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih told local media that the parliamentary group would take action against MPs who went against the party whip-line.
Speaking to Minivan News, Ghafoor said that action will be taken against Mufeed in accordance with rules set up to take action against those who break the party whip-line.
“I assure that the party’s parliamentary group (PG) will look into the matter and ensure that necessary action be taken against [Mufeed] in accordance with the party constitution, if he is found to have broken the party whip-line,” he said.
“Shifaaq [Mufeed] has been a subject of controversy, even before the February 7 coup. He has been repeatedly gone against the party line,” Ghafoor alleged.
“For instance, while we were in government, during the meetings of Social Services Committee of the Parliament where he and I both sit as MDP MPs, he had supported the centralising of Thalassaemia treatment while the party had earlier approved a bill decentralising it,” he added.
While Ghafoor did not reveal what kind of action the party would be taken against the MP representing mid-Fuvahmulah constituency, he stated that if Mufeed wanted to “switch parties” he should stop “acting like a child” and “be man enough to say that the party policies no longer appeal to him”.
However, Mufeed maintained that he did not intend to switch parties but he was trying to highlight the flaws within the party leadership, and was quoted in the local media as saying that the party’s leadership was “in a coma”.
Along with MP Mufeed, other senior party figures such as MP for Nolhivaram Constituency Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed along has become vocal in criticising the party leadership, stating that the party should let go of its “militant tactics”.
Along with Mufeed and others, party vice president Alhan Fahmy has implied that former President Nasheed was a “spiritual leader”, and that he would not support such a leader within the party.
However, Ghafoor told Minivan News that there was no way Nasheed could be labelled a “spiritual leader”, as the National Council of the party had agreed that he was brought down illegally and was technically still the elected president.
“I don’t believe that Nasheed is a spiritual leader. Structurally he still is the elected president, and the party has agreed that he was brought down by illegal means under a resolution passed on February 8. The party’s national council has agreed that he is still technically the elected president, through the people’s vote,” said Ghafoor.
Minivan News tried contacting MP Alhan Fahmy for his comments but he had not responded at the time of press.
The National Council was scheduled to meet today 4:00pm at Dharubaaruge. Minivan News understands the no confidence motion is to be opened for debate.