'Rebel' lawmaker loses seat after ruling party ax

Ruling party lawmaker Ali Fazaad has lost his parliamentary seat under the new anti-defection law after he was removed from the party on Thursday.

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) disciplinary committee had moved to remove the Mid Fuvahmulah MP Fazaad after he publicly backed opposition alliance presidential candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih for the upcoming presidential elections slated for later this month.

Fazaad had even accompanied Solih on his recent campaign tour to Haa Alif Atoll after insisting that he was not afraid of the consequences as he could no longer support a dictatorship.

PPM council explained that Fazaad had been absent from recent party events while he has made public attempts to impede incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's campaign for re-election.

The rebel lawmaker would automatically lose his parliamentary seat after his removal from the party.

The government controlled parliament in March had passed the anti-defection law largely devised to disqualify a dozen former government lawmakers.

According to the new law, lawmakers elected on party tickets would lose their respective seats if they quit, change or are dismissed from the party. However, the law would not apply to independent members if they sign for a particular party.

The law also does not apply to lawmakers for violating party whip-lines or are penalized by a party for disciplinary violations.