'The opposition has vultures and lions to lead the pack'

President of opposing Peoples' National Congress (PNC) Abdul Raheem Abdulla has stated that 'vultures and lions' capable of leading the party exist within the PPM-PNC coalition.

Heavily criticizing former Home Minister Umar Naseer who recently went on TV and said the opposition is in need of a strong 'vulture or lion' to lead them and 'revolutionise' the party, Abdul Raheem on Monday said two parties are advocating for the release of former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom who was recently jailed for money laundering. Loyal aides of the former president are currently within the PPM-PNC coalition, said Abdul Raheem.

Referring to Umar Naseer, Abdul Raheem said Umar is searching for a political ally as he has not been able to side with either the opposition or the ruling coalition to pursue a future in politics. Despite the fact that he is thirsty for a PPM ticket to contest in the 2023 presidential election, said ticket is reserved for and is a property of President Yameen, said Abdul Raheem.

"There is no need for people who do not have a 'political' vessel they can embark, people with no place for them at any political parties to go on TV programmes and give interviews to news and magazines and other media platforms criticizing PPM-PNC. Even if one is desperate for a 2023 presidential ticket, the ticket has already been reserved for President Yameen, and that will not change," said Abdul Raheem.

Speaking on local channel 'CNM' on Sunday, Umar said it is not sufficient for PPM to keep protesting the arrest of their leader, former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom from inside an air-conditioned room. While the current leadership of the party does not have what it takes to put pressure on the government, a capable and courageous 'vulture or lion' is what the party needs to lead them to victory, said Umar.

"When we were in charge [of Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party, DRP), we were able to back a government into a corner within three years. Ultimately, it led to Nasheed resigning and stepping down on his own will. We do not see the same activism, or courage of the same caliber from the current PPM leadership. What they need is a strong leader. They need a powerful 'vulture', they are in need of a 'lion'. While such a person is what the party needs to lead the pack, no such people are currently active within the party. Such a leader will revolutionise the party" said Umar.

The day before PPM leader former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom was sentenced to five years in jail after being found guilty of money laundering, he had advised his supporters to be wary of 'preying vultures' who are circling the party ready to pounce on its leadership. Many speculate the reference to describe people who had attempted to damage the party in the past and are currently weaseling their way back into the party in Yameen's absence.