Former President Gayoom warns against divisions within PPM

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has called for supporters of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) to unite behind presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen, claiming there was no room for division among its members.

Gayoom’s comments were published in local media yesterday (April 8 ) after he officially presented the PPM presidential ticket to his half-brother Yameen.

Yameen last month secured his spot in presidential elections scheduled for September this year, winning  the PPM primary with 63 percent of the vote in a two-way contest against the party’s Deputy Leader Umar Naseer.

Following the primary, Naseer alleged that the PPM primary had been rigged in favour of Yameen. Naseer’s comments, as well as a subsequent refusal to retract them, have since resulted in the PPM’s disciplinary committee accepting a case against him.

“United and resolute”

However, speaking yesterday at a function to unveil Yameen as the PPM’s presidential candidate, former President Gayoom called for any rifts in the party to cease.

“We have to stand united and resolute on that belief. Now is the time for all of us to express one thought. Speak in one voice. Stand firm on one objective. There is no room for division among us after the presidential ticket has been presented,” Gayoom was quoted as saying in local newspaper Haveeru.

“In this party there should not be people who only support Maumoon or Yameen or anyone else. Everyone must be PPM members. Members must be sincere to this party,” Gayoom said.

After losing the PPM Primary, Umar Naseer held a rally and declared that despite admitting defeat, the party’s internal election had involved discrepancies including the influencing of voters, vote buying and intimidation of his supporters.

He also alleged that many of his supporters were denied the right to vote, claiming that their names had not been on the lists.

“Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s children were with Yameen, the largest gangsters in the country were with Yameen, all the drug cartels in the country were with Yameen, the most corrupted people were with Yameen, the whole elections committee was with Yameen and a large chunk of PPM’s parliament members gathered around Yameen.

“We came out knowing that the referee, the linesman and even the match commissioner along with his 11 players were playing on his side. Our team had the poor and the middle class players,” Naseer said at the rally.

“We even witnessed that those who are heavily involved in drug trafficking were present at the polling station wearing Yameen’s campaign caps,” he said. “Not only did they exert undue influence, they travelled to islands with stashes of black money and attempted to turn the votes. In fact they even did turn some votes.”

In September 2010, Umar Naseer was the Deputy Leader of Dhivehi Rayyiithunge Party (DRP), the DRP Council in a meeting decided to file a case against Umar at the Disciplinary Committee for forging a press release and for causing division in the party.

Later in December 2010, Umar Naseer was dismissed from the party – an incident that eventually led to a splintering of the DRP into a new party under Gayoom, the PPM.

PPM MPs Ahmed Mahloof and Ilham Ahmed were not responding to calls at time of press.


DRP deputy contemplates election coalition, rules out PPM alliance

The government-aligned Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) has ruled out a coalition with the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) ahead of elections later this year, despite being open to collaboration with other parties.

DRP Deputy Leader Ibrahim Shareef told Minivan News the DRP would not contemplate forming a coalition with the PPM beyond the present government, calling any discussion on the matter a “waste of time” considering previous disagreements between the two parties.

The PPM, a coalition partner in the government of President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik, was formed by DRP founder former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in 2011 following an acrimonious war of words with the party’s current leader, Ahmed Thasmeen Ali. Thasmeen was directly appointed by Gayoom to be his successor as head of the DRP.

PPM members are currently campaigning ahead of primaries to decide whether MP Abdulla Yameen or the party’s former interim Deputy Leader Umar Naseer will contest as the organisations presidential candidate in September’s elections.

Speaking Friday (March 15) at a rally head at the artificial beach area of Male’, PPM Deputy Leader Ilham Ahmed claimed that unlike MP Yameen, “almost all parties” have said they would unite with Umar Naseeer in a coalition for the next presidential elections, reported Sun Online.

Ilham told the gathered crowd that being able to form a coalition would be important in the upcoming elections, adding that no other party would be interested in forming an alliance with a party helmed by MP Yameen.

MP Ilham was not responding to calls at time of press, while Umar Naseer’s secretary said he was too busy to speak.

However, PPM MP and spokesperson for MP Yameen’s campaign team Shifaq Mufeed has since slammed Umar Naseer’s primary team for making what he called slanderous and untruthful statements.

With its own congress scheduled for next month, DRP Deputy Leader Ibrahim Shareef said the DRP was presently focusing on its own campaign and manifesto for the presidential elections, but believed the party would never be able to form an alliance with the PPM going forward.

“Our position is very clear, we will not be forming a coalition with the PPM,” he said.

Shareef said that following a split within the DRP that saw supporters loyal to former President Gayoom break away and form the PPM, it would not be possible for the two parties to work together.

“We won’t waste our time discussing a coalition with them,” he said.

Despite rejecting any possibility of working with the PPM, Shareef said that the DRP would not rule out a coalition with parties in the future who they had not already worked with, adding that there was always room for discussions to be held.

However, he claimed that the party was presently in the process of compiling its manifesto for elections to be held next year, while also trying to finalise a venue for the party’s congress scheduled next month.

“Right now we have not been able to get a venue, though we hope to secure Dharubaaruge [conference centre],” Shareef said. “We are not a wealthy party, so we cannot campaign like richer parties and we need to find a new way to do this. We don’t have our own television or radio stations like other parties.”

Spokespersons for the  Jumhoree Party (JP), Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) and Adhaalath Party (AP) were not responding to calls at time of press.