Dunya Maumoon is the eleventh member of the government to resign, putting President Yameen in a critical situation
The political face-off in the Maldives between President Yameen and his half-brother former President Gayoom has reached its latest flashpoint with foreign minister Dunya Maumoon resigning from her post, hours after her brother and member of Parliament Faarish Maumoon was expelled from the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).
This is yet another high-profile loss for the cabinet of President Abdullah Yameen.
Amongst the senior-most Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) leaders, Ibrahim Soleih said: "We are watching the situation very closely as there are a lot of developments taking place very rapidly."
When asked if the MDP would be open to supporting a splinter group of the PPM, led by former President Gayoom, he did not rule out the possibility, and said: "We will take steps in the benefit of the country. We will support anyone who is against corruption and in favour of democracy in the Maldives."
The MDP national executive is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting in a few hours from now and is expected to decide on whether or not to support a splinter group of the PPM led by former President Gayoom.
Meanwhile, sources in the PPM have told WION that President Yameen has found himself increasingly isolated within his own party while support for former President Gayoom has been growing. The latter is understood to still have substantial control over the PPM amid growing unrest within the party over corruption allegations and the ad-hoc decision making style of President Yameen.
Yameen's isolation within his own party was magnified following the imprisonment of his right hand man and Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb, who was jailed on charges of an assassination attempt on President Yameen and his wife on their way back from Haj last year.
Pertinently, Maumoon is the eleventh member of the government to resign. In the past fortnight itself, home minister Umar Naseer has also resigned.
Gayoom's move to reject a petition signed by a majority of the PPM council asking him to grant President Yameen the party ticket for the 2018 presidential election without a party primary proved to be the latest flashpoint in the power struggle with his half-brother.
The 82-year-old Gayoom ordered secretary general Mohamed Tholal to seek his permission before calling executive council meetings and later sent a text message to PPM deputy leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla, stripping him of the authority to administer the party.
As WION spoke to Faarish, he said: "Yes, things are very strained. The issues we face are national issues. However, at this stage, we are still trying to address these by internal party reforms. But things are moving at an alarming pace."
Calls to Ahmed Nihaan, PPM Member of Parliament, and house majority leader went unanswered.
(With inputs from Royden D'Souza)