DRP denies rumours of internal dispute over primaries

Reports of internal disputes in the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party over whether to hold primaries in the run up to the party’s congress are incorrect, the party has claimed.

Despite a court case the between DRP leader elect Ahmed Thasmeen Ali and coalition partner People’s Alliance (PA) leader Abdulla Yameen, and earnest debate over whether the party will hold primaries rather than automatically put its leader forward as a presidential candidate, the DRP insists the party is united.

DRP spokesman Ibrahim Shareef said ongoing rumours over splits in the party were untrue.

”People think the party is dividing because these are the days before our elections, so we are competing with each other – that’s why some people think we are having internal disputes,” Shareef said.

Shareef said in reality there were no internal disputes in the party.

However former president of the Islamic Democratic Party (IDP) and DRP member Umar Naseer claimed that among the DRP MPs there are MDP supporters ”who wear blue T-shirts and pretend to be DRP supporters but actual fact are MDP supporters.”

Umar said it would be “very beneficial” for the party if the amendment of to hold a primary election was approved, as ”everyone must have the right to run for the presidential election.”

He said that he had not yet decided whether to do so himself.

Spokesman for the former president Ibrahim ‘Mundhu’ Sharef said rumours of internal strife within the DRP were being spread to encourage people to dislike the party.

Mundhu said ”the DRP is a democratic political party, and we solve all our problems peacefully.”

He claimed the DRP’s large membership base supported the party because of the love they have for former president Gayoom “and not for money or by force.”

In contrast, only 18 per cent of the population supported MDP “according to several polls we took.”

MDP spokesman Ahmed Haleem claimed that disputes were occurring within the opposition party naturally “as it changes into a democratic party. This happens in the early stage of any democracy,” he said.

“The DRP was largely based around former president Gayoom,” he said, “and their disputes over whether to elect a presidential candidate through a primary is due to the number of undemocratic people in the party.”

“Hopefully the DRP will become a democratic party very soon,” he added.