'A party that need a certain person to run it is not a political party'

Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi has stated that any political party that cannot stand on its feet in the absence of a party leader is not a true political party.

The minister's statement comes in response to the statements given by jailed former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom during the appeal hearing held Tuesday challenging the money laundering verdict declared against him by the Criminal Court.

Speaking at the hearing, the former president had stated that he was the leader of the opposition, and that having being jailed had hindered the activities of the party as well as efforts to hold the current administration accountable. He further stated that the party is facing challenges in preparing for the upcoming local council election as a result of his conviction, and requested the High Court to release him on bail, and to delay the serving his sentence.

However, the State said a convicted felon cannot lead a political party, therefore, President Yameen is no longer the leader of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

Referring to the former president's statements, Minister Mariya took to Twitter to state that any party that cannot be operated in the absence of a certain individual is against the concept of a political party. She added that the current predicament being faced by President Yameen is a direct result of the amendments he brought to laws during his autocratic presidency.

The laws which Minister Mariya referred to are amendments brought by the former president to the Political Party Act which states that a convicted felon cannot head a political party. The amendment were directed at former president and current Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed , the leader of main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Home Minister Imran Abdulla, the leader of Adhaalath Party while they were serving sentences on terrorism charges.