MDA leader takes a back seat amid rift with ruling party

Ruling coalition partner Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) leader Ahmed Siyam Mohamed has taken a back seat as the party's council handed the reins to deputy leader Ahmed Mauroof amid rumours of a rift with Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

MDA council during a sit-down on Tuesday tasked the running of the party to Mauroof while a separate sit-down has been scheduled to decide on the direction the party would take for the upcoming presidential elections.

Party spokesperson Sinan Ali said the resort tycoon Siyam has decided to take a back seat from politics and focus on his personal interests.

Sinan explained that as MDA had not received a formal proposal for a future coalition government the party's council would decide on on the direction the party would take for the crunch elections in September during another sit-down.

Siyam - a close friend and trusted ally of incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has been absent from key campaign events in recent weeks while MDA had not been included in recent PPM sit-downs with foreign delegates ahead of the elections.