Umar Naseer dismissed from PPM, local media reports

Umar Naseer has been dismissed from the the government-aligned Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) over allegations made following his unsuccessful bid to become the party’s presidential candidate, local media has confirmed today.

The Sun Online publication today reported that Naseer has been sent an official notice of dismissal invalidating his PPM membership.

Following the PPM primary last month, Naseer alleged that his opponent MP Abdulla Yameen controlled all of the party’s organs, including the council and election committee, and had “rigged” the vote in his favour by ballot stuffing, falsifying the count and “pouring black money” to buy votes.

He further alleged that Yameen, half-brother of former autocratic ruler, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was fully backed by the former president’s family and PPM parliamentary group, as well as criminal gangs, convicts and drug smuggling “networks”.

A case against Naseer was heard by the PPM’s internal disciplinary council on April 14 over the nature of possible action taken against him after he refused to apologise to Yameen or defend himself at the subsequent disciplinary hearing.

When contacted by Minivan News today, a spokesperson for Umar Naseer refused to confirm if such a notice had been received.

“I’m sorry, but we do not give interviews to Minivan News,” the spokesperson said.

PPM MP Ahmed Mahloof was meanwhile not responding to calls from Minivan News. Fellow MP Ahmed Nihan had his phone switched off at time of press.

“Not in the mood”

Nihan told Minivan News earlier this week that Naseer had failed to respond, either verbally or in writing, during a seven day period provided by the PPM’s disciplinary hearing to retract the allegations he had made.

“It seems he was not in the mood to follow the party’s charter,” Nihan added, pointing to several media reports that Naseer had taken a role in discussions to form a broad coalition of government-aligned parties behind current President Dr Mohamed Waheed ahead of the presidential election scheduled for September 7 this year.

However, local newspaper Haveeru has reported that Naseer himself has questioned the legality of any action to remove him from the PPM while the Civil Court is in the process of hearing a case on whether to invalidate the outcome of the PPM primary.

PPM member Rahma Moosa lodged the case earlier this month claiming 8,915 people who were not officially registered as members of PPM had been allowed to vote in the primary.

The PPM has previously said that although the additional persons had not been registered at the Elections Commission by March 10, they were allowed to vote as they had submitted membership forms to the party.

PPM formation

The PPM was formed by former President Gayoom back in 2011 together with a breakaway faction from within the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP).

The DRP – the first political party formed by Gayoom back in 2005 – was split into two factions of supporters backing former president Gayoom and those supporting his successor as DRP Leader, Ahmed Thasmeen Ali.

Infighting in the party had intensified from back in December 2010 after Umar Naseer was dismissed as the DRP’s Deputy Leader following a vote by the party’s disciplinary committee.


Paradise Island Resort and Spa to host World Travel Awards Indian Ocean ceremony

Paradise Island Resort and Spa in the Maldives’ North Male’ Atoll is next month set to host a World Travel Awards ceremony focusing specifically on the Indian Ocean region.

Paradise Island, which last year hosted an inaugural ceremony honoring key figures and businesses across the local resort industry, is now set to host the Indian Ocean World Travel Awards gala on May 12, 2013.

According to organisers, the ceremony will see awards in 58 categories presented to industry figures and operators from across the region.

World Travel Awards Director Sion Rapson said that strong interest from the Indian Ocean in its various international accolades had led organisers to establish a dedicated prize giving event for the region.

“Partnering with Maldives Tourism Promotion Board, Let’s Go Maldives and Azidon indicates the enthusiasm of all three and their commitment to maintaining their respective positions as industry leaders in this vital region,” Rapson added.

Paradise Island Resort and Spa is operated by the Villa Hotels and Resorts group operated by local business tycoon, MP and presidential candidate for the government aligned Jumhooree Party (JP) Gasim Ibrahim.


Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim to join PPM “very soon”

People’s Alliance (PA) MP and Parliament Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim has revealed he intends to join Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

Nazim told local media that despite being PA’s parliamentary group leader, he had always worked closely with the PPM since the party’s inception in October 2011.

PA’s former president, Abdulla Yameen, was elected as PPM’s presidential candidate on Saturday (March 30) ahead of the  2013 presidential elections in September.

“PA was formed for a specific purpose wasn’t it? It was formed for the political future of Yameen as he wanted out of the DRP [Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party] at the time,” Nazim told local newspaper Haveeru.

“So when Yameen chose to further his political career through PPM the result is very clear isn’t it? However, my switch to DRP had to be put off as the political party bill was still in the parliament,” he explained.

PPM is the second largest party in the Maldives with a total of 22,765 members, according to February’s figures. The party is led by former autocratic ruler of the Maldives and half-brother of Yameen, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

In regards to the PA, Nazim stated that future progress of the Maldives lies with the functioning of larger parties, hence why he voted in favour of the Political Parties Act to dissolve parties with less than 10,000 members.

The Political Parties Act, ratified by President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik on March 12, saw a total of 11 parties removed from the Election Commission’s political parties register – including the PA.

Out of the 16 parties that had existed prior to the bill’s ratification, only the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), PPM, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party, Jumhoree Party and Adhaalath Party remain registered in the Maldives.

“It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t listen to smaller parties. But if so there is a fear that it would lead to a tribal system in the Maldives,” Nazim told local media.

“If we start giving every party a seat in the cabinet and companies, the whole thing will function without a proper system. We can see that from the coalitions we’ve formed so far,” he added.

According to local media, PPM will have secured a total of 19 seats in parliament should Nazim sign to the party.

Although Nazim did not give an exact date for the switch, he told Haveeru that it would take place “very soon”.

Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.