The opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has dismissed its Deputy Leader, Umar Naseer after a disciplinary committee voted to remove the senior politician during a dramatic day that saw growing uncertainty over the party’s future as its Male’ headquarters were stormed by supporters.
Haveeru reported that a special DRP disciplinary committee voted four to one in favour of dismissing Naseer this afternoon, a decision that is alleged not to have the support of former president and party chief, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
The exit of Naseer, who has been at the centre of an acrimonious war of words with DRP leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, has led one party MP to claim a split may be imminent within the country’s opposition.
“There will be a split in the party for sure,” DRP MP Ahmed Mahlouf told Minivan News following the disciplinary committee decision. “He is someone with a lot of support in the party, and to date he has done a lot of work for us. He is very loyal to the former President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.”
Mahlouf also claimed that the decision to remove Naseer due to disagreements with party leadership was against DRP policy and conventions that he said required a two-thirds majority at the party’s congress to remove a serving Deputy Leader.
Both Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and Umar Naseer were unavailable for comment when contacted by Minivan News at the time of going to press about their respective political futures.
The day began with a group of opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) supporters said to be loyal to Naseer storming the movement’s headquarters and disrupting the disciplinary talks focusing on the former Deputy Leader.
DRP Secretary General Abdurasheed Nafiz told Minvan News that about a dozen or so people “burst into the head office” of the DRP during the morning to try and have a hearing of the party’s disciplinary committee against Naseer dismissed.
Nafiz said the meeting, originally scheduled for 9.00am, was eventually postponed until 11.45am as a result of the interruptions, with further meetings then taking place throughout the afternoon to outline what action was to be taken against Naseer.
The committee meetings followed months of animosity between Naseer and Thasmeen that yesterday led to a similar gathering of protestors outside the DRP’s headquarters.
About 30 people gathered near the DRP’s headquarters during Wednesday afternoon to call for the resignation of Thasmeen. Those gathered also held placards carrying messages in Dhivehi with statements such as “although Umar may be removed from his position he will be serving the nation and the people.”
Just last week, Umar Naseer vowed to take legal action against “government officials and opposition figures who accepted bribes from (Indian infrastructure giant) GMR”, following allegations that surfaced last month on the Dhivehi Post website.
Back in September, Naseer also accused Thasmeen supporters of attempting to dismiss him from the party after the DRP council voted narrowly to move ahead with a disciplinary hearing.
This animosity has led to claims and speculation that a split within the DRP may be imminent; reports that some party members have dismissed as “a media campaign conducted in the interests of” the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).