The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) is currently embroiled in a significant internal conflict following recent developments involving its leadership and organisational structure. Tensions escalated after an unannounced press conference led by former Technology Minister Maleeh Jamal, with notable absence from PPM’s current leadership, including its secretary-general Ahmed Tholal.

At the heart of the controversy is the formation of a 13-member steering committee, reportedly appointed by the party leader and former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, who is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence after being convicted of bribery and money laundering. 

This committee, which took charge of the party’s operations, aims to address various issues including increasing membership and modernising the party. At the press conference, Maleeh Jamal stressed the importance of unity within PPM for addressing national challenges. This came on the heels of PPM’s sister party, ruling People’s National Congress opened an office to steer its membership drive. 

However, the press conference and subsequent actions have sparked significant discord within the party. It emerged that key figures, such as PPM’s secretary-general Mohamed Tholal and spokesperson Heena Waleed, were not informed of the press conference, contrary to usual practice.

When questioned about the departure from usual practice, the committee responded that the secretary-general who is now part of the government operations had taken a step back from party operations, and that the spokesperson had recently resigned from the post. Both Tholal and Heena refuted these claims, contradicting statements made at the press conference.

The situation further deteriorated with the suspension of Maleeh Jamal from the party. PPM’s Deputy Leaders, Fisheries Minister Ahmed Shiyam and Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon, notified Maleeh of the decision, accused him of attempting to create divisions within the party. Specifically, Maleeh was censured for forming committees and holding the press conference without consulting the party leadership or senate, actions seen as contravening the party’s constitution.

These developments signify a deepening rift within the PPM and its sister party PNC, revealing a struggle over control and direction of the parties. The suspension of Maleeh and the unauthorised actions of the steering committee underscore the challenges facing the PPM in maintaining unity and coherence as the PPM-PNC led government takes the helm of the country.