JP limits new party president to admin role

Opposition Jumhoory Party (JP) on Friday amended its charter to largely limit its newly elected president to an administrative role by awarding the authority of its incapacitated leader to the party's deputy leader.

Former main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) chairperson Ali Waheed who only recently switched sides to join JP was elected as its new president during the party's national congress on Friday.

As the only candidate for the post, Ali Waheed was elected through a referendum vote after receiving 154 votes in favour while 102 voted against despite a major anti-campaign from within the party to prevent his election.

There had been widespread reports that the anti-campaign was prompted by disgruntled party members who did not wish to give a high ranking post to Ali Waheed as he had just joined the party.

Despite Ali Waheed winning the referendum vote, the party's national congress amended its charter to shift the responsibilities of the leader to a deputy leader instead of the party president.

As the party has four deputy leaders, the one who would inherit the responsibilities of the leader is the post is vacated or if the leader is unable to execute his or her responsibilities would be picked a majority of the council.

The party president would be responsible for the administrative functioning of the party, the amendment said.

However, the amendment also said if the party leader is unable to chair council sit-downs, that authority would shift to the party president. Though council members would not be mandated to attend sit-downs in person, the chair has not been afforded such luxury which again rules out Ali Waheed as he lives in self-imposed exile.

JP during Friday's congress had also reserved its leader post for business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim who has been forced to relinquish his post due to a criminal conviction.