Senior MRM members to leave party over disagreements

Some senior members of the Maldives Reform Movement (MRM) have announced that they are leaving the party as they believe the party is working to make things hard for President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's government.

The members decided to leave the party following the party's council meeting held Wednesday night. The meeting was held by the party leader, former Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom, to resolve apparent differences within MRM.

The central conflict among MRM members is regarding supporting President Solih in the upcoming presidential election. Some council members are against the party aligning with President Solih, while those currently in the government advocate backing the President for a second term.

An MRM council member who held a political position in the government told AVAS on condition of anonymity that the issue escalated when the MRM attended a press conference held by the main opposition on Wednesday to oppose the government's stand on the Chagos issue.

The source said the government's views on the demarcation of Maldivian waters are opposite to those of many MRM council members. Therefore, the MRM council decided to hold an emergency meeting to explain the MRM's views and policy on the issue, he said.

"The MRM council decided to issue a statement or hold a press conference. We are also not against that. But yesterday, we suddenly saw MRM Vice President Nadhira speaking on behalf of the MRM together with the opposition parties and a presidential candidate," he explained.

The source told AVAS that some of the MRM council members believe that some council members have a personal vendetta against President Solih on unfounded issues. Therefore, some members of the council decided to leave the party as they believed that it was an act of causing difficulties to the President and the government, he said.

Those who have decided to leave the MRM include:

Heritage Ministry's Director of Communications Ismail Naaill Rasheed
Heritage Ministry's Senior Executive Director Ali Faseel
Tourism Ministry's Senior Policy Director, Farhad Ibrahim
Personal assistant to President Maumoon, Ahmed Sofwan
MITDC's Managing Director, Mohamed Raaid
MTDC's Managing Director, Thazmeel Abdul Samad
Maldives Gas' Managing Director Shazail Shiyam
Mohamed Nadeem (husband of Maumoon's daughter and Heritage Minister Yumna Maumoon)
HDC Board Member Ibrahim Afrath
Abdul Hameed Ahmed

President Soluh has invited the current ruling coalition partners MRM, JP, and Adalath Party to form a coalition with the MDP for the upcoming presidential election. However, the MRM, which is still in the ruling coalition, has yet to decide whether to support President Solih. The party has now put forward five conditions for forming a coalition with the MDP. Meanwhile, Adhaalath Party has agreed to back President Solih, while JP has decided to field its own candidate and lead a coalition of its own.

The cabinet ministers appointed to the government on MRM slots are Higher Education Minister Dr. Ibrahim Hassan and Heritage Minister Yumna Maumoon. AVAS has learned that both ministers support the MRM to move forward with President Solih.