Deputy speaker signs for ruling party

Embattled Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) scored a major victory on Tuesday after the former main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) lawmaker Moosa Manik signed for the ruling party.

PPM has been hit by a procession of lawmakers exiting the once mighty ruling coalition, decimating it as the parliament minority.

Manik who is the deputy parliament speaker had fallen out with MDP and was subsequently dismissed from the party for breaking a party whip line during a parliamentary vote.

The outspoken lawmaker has since continued to heavily criticize the MDP leadership and openly supported incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's development policy especially in parliament.

The former MDP chairperson and one of the founding members of the party signed for PPM with president Yameen in attendance.

Manik after putting pen to paper said his decision was based purely on sincerely serving the party and the country. He also thanked the party supporters and leadership for accepting and welcoming him to the party.

He also reiterated support for president Yameen's re-election campaign next year.

President Yameen said PPM would offer Manik the opportunity to fulfill his personal political ambitions insisting that the lawmaker would have the chance to contest the presidential primary if he wishes to do so.

After the now opposition coalition in March had filed a second motion to unseat speaker Abdulla Maseeh, the government had engineered an amendment to the parliament rules of procedure raising the number of lawmaker signatures required to file a censure motion against the speaker and his deputy from 15 to 42.

The opposition had filed the third censure motion against Maseeh with 45 lawmakers which included ten lawmakers from the ruling party.

More lawmakers scrambled to leave the ruling party on Monday as the government in a desperate attempt to reverse the slide turned to the country's top court to disqualify rebel MPs.

As the AG was filing the constitutional case, Ihavandhoo MP Mohamed Abdulla, Thimarafushi MP Mohamed Musthafa and South-Thinadhoo MP Abdulla Mohamed officially asked to leave the party to join south-Machchangoalhi MP Abdulla Sinan, Villingili MP Saud Hussain and North-Thinadhoo MP Saudulla Hilmy to quit the party on Monday.

Dhihdhoo lawmaker Abdul Latheef Mohamed and Hanimaadhoo lawmaker Hussain Shahudhee also left the ruling party last week followed by Dhangethi MP Ilham Ahmed on Sunday.

North-Fuvahmulah MP Ali Shah late Tuesday also quit the party taking the tally of lawmakers to leave the embattled ruling party to 10 decimating the once mighty ruling coalition as the parliament minority.