Maldives ruling party sacks leader after revolt

MALE • The Maldives' ruling party has sacked the country's former strongman president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom as its leader after he led an unsuccessful rebellion against his half-brother, who is now in power.

The decision came late on Monday after Mr Gayoom reached a pact at the weekend with exiled opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed and then tried to persuade his supporters to vote against the government in Parliament.

President Abdulla Yameen had recently taken executive control of the party, but his half-brother was its nominal president.

"Gayoom has been accused of sympathising with the opposition," said a Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) official who asked not to be named.

Mr Gayoom had urged PPM legislators to vote with the opposition on Monday to impeach the Speaker of the House, a move aimed at undermining Mr Yameen's hold on power before elections next year.

Mr Nasheed had hoped that the surprise alliance with Mr Gayoom would provide enough parliamentary support to oust the Speaker.

Instead there were chaotic scenes in Parliament as opposition legislators staged a rowdy protest before losing the vote.Images posted on social media showed several opposition-aligned MPs being physically removed from the House by government troops.

The United States yesterday expressed concern over the chaotic vote and asked the Maldives to "restore faith in democratic processes by ensuring free and impartial proceedings in Parliament".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2017, with the headline 'Maldives ruling party sacks leader after revolt'. Print Edition | Subscribe