Member of Parliament for South Machchangolhi, Ahmed Haitham has announced his departure from the main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), just as former South Machchangolhi MP Abdulla Sinan formally joins it.

Haitham, in a letter to the MDP’s chairperson Fayyaz Ismail on Tuesday, stated that his decision to exit the party stems from its departure from core values. 

“I believe it best for myself and this party to leave the party that lacks values,” Haitham said. This comes after his efforts to rectify what he saw as a value drift within the party were met with insufficient support from its leadership. 

Haitham’s departure follows Fonadhoo MP Moosa Siraj, who also left MDP last month and later joined the main opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). 

With these exits, the number of MDP’s MPs in Parliament has now reduced to 55.

On the other side of the coin, former South Machchangolhi MP Abdulla Sinan has formally entered the MDP fold, presenting his membership form to Fayyaz Ismail on Thursday. Sinan had been involved in MDP’s presidential campaign activities even before this formal affiliation. 

Former South Machchangolhi MP Abdulla Sinan hands over his membership form to MDP Chairperson Fayyaz Ismail. (Photo: MDP)

He had originally been elected to Parliament in 2014 as a PPM candidate, the party in power at the time. Sinan was among the 12 MPs who lost their seat for floor-crossing, as determined by the Elections Commission, after signing a no-confidence motion against the then-Speaker Abdulla Maseeh.

Sinan was later charged with terrorism for conspiracy to overthrow the government and was incarcerated pending the outcome of the trial. His release came following the defeat of the PPM in the 2018 presidential election, and the subsequent overturning of the decision to unseat him and the other MPs by the Supreme Court. 

Charges against him were also dropped. Sinan had been involved in founding the Maldives National Party (MNP) and ran as an independent candidate in the 2019 elections but lost to Ahmed Haitham, who ran on an MDP ticket.