Maldives: Court tells PPM chief Maumoon to hand over party reins to President Yameen

President Abdul Yameen (left) and his half brother Maumoon have been at loggerheads over key party decisions. (Photo courtesy: President's Office/ Maldives) Photograph:( Others )

Male, Maldives Oct 16, 2016, 10.58 AM (IST) Umaima Rasheed Hussain

The Civil Court of the Maldives on Sunday ordered Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom to hand over the party leadership to his half-brother and Maldivian President Yameen Abdul Gayoom.  

The lawsuit had been filed by two council members of the PPM — Naifaru constituency lawmaker Mohamed Shiyam and Hulhudhoo constituency lawmaker Mohamed Shahid, who are loyal to President Yameen — seeking Maumoon's dismissal for suspending party operations.

The court ruling found Maumoon guilty of violating the constitution, party charter and political party law.

The court has ordered President Yameen to hold an emergency council meeting in the next 24 hours. The meeting is scheduled to take place at 9 pm local time.

Maumoon, a former Maldivian president, has decided to appeal in the high court against the civil court's judgment.

Maumoon's ouster comes amid deep divide in the country's ruling party due to a growing rift between the Gayoom brothers.

The party has been riven by power tussle as its members have been split over which brother to support.

The fault lines were laid bare after the PPM council requested to grant the ticket to President Yameen to contest the 2018 presidential election without a primary, a decision that was criticised by Maumoon. Maumoon had refused saying that he cannot go against the democratic values of the party. 

According to the party's charter, a presidential candidate from the party must be elected through a primary held three to six months prior to the presidential elections. 

Maumoon inducted Yameen's former interior minister Umar Naseer into the party council for publicly echoing the same concern. 

On Saturday, the civil court said the advisory committee set up by Maumoon for his reform agenda was illegitimate. The court said that any panel assembled by the party president without the council's approval was not lawful.

The court case was filed against Maumoon on Saturday, just two days after a senior party leader and a President Yameen loyalist Ahmed Nihaan Hussain Manik denied any intention of trying to remove Maumoon from his post.