Dissolution of MRM - the end of Gayyoom’s Political Career?

In 2019 Gayyoom created his third political party Maldives Reform Movement (MRM), officially getting their registration in November 2019.

With the Presidential race looming just a few months away, there have been some major changes and challenges faced by the Maldivian political parties. As one of the most renowned figures in the Maldivian political field, Mohamed Nasheed has recently decided to form his own political party ‘The Democrats’ after leaving his initial position as the name and face of the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP), his original biggest opponent Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom appears to be headed towards the end of his political career.

Initially renowned in the Maldivian political field as the leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) and the longest-serving President of the Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom now serves as the leader of the Maldives Reform Movement (MRM). Though many of us are familiar with Gayyoom as the leader of DRP as the party governed the country for 30 long years, following the end of the term Gayyoom officially left the party. 

Just like Nasheed leaving MDP, this was yet another big moment in the Maldivian political history, as Gayyoom's departure from the political party was met with a lawsuit from DRP. In a statement by DRP in late 2020, the party noted that they have been heavily in debt during Gayyoom's leadership of the party, and upon his departure, he failed to settle the debts which led to an executive decision being made by the DRP council to hold him accountable for the unsettled bills.

Following this messy separation from the very political party he created, over some internal issues, Gayyoom set out on his next endeavour and created the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). But as we all know by now, his half-brother Abdulla Yameen became the successor of this political party after gaining popularity for having more progressive ideas, later becoming the leader of PPM and governing the Maldives between 2013 and 2018. With this, in 2019 Maumoon created his third political party Maldives Reform Movement (MRM), officially getting their registration in November 2019. 

While the political party submitted the minimum required 3,000 membership forms which are required under the law, by 2022 this was already not the case for the political party as they made the Elections Commission (EC) list of political parties that did not meet the mimimum membership requirements. By 2022, MRM had a total of 2,300 members and though these numbers appear to have improved, the membership numbers remain below the required 3,000 even by 2023. 

The signs of problematic future for this political party emerged as early as 2022 as MRM published a statement raising its concerns over their own members leaving the party in order to compete in internal elections which were being organised by other parties. While the party expressed their concerns over such acts and urged the party members to not take such rash decisions, it appears that this trend continued into 2023 as senior members of the party followed the same path.

In May 2023, eight senior members from MRM left the party, pledging their support for President Solih. The reasoning for their separation from MRM was that the political party was taking a stand against President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. 

Though this still leaves 23 members of MRM in several different positions in the administration, it is now being reported by local news outlets that the Election Commission has made the decision to dissolve MRM as a political party due to the lack of members. Though the Secretary General of MRM has stated that the party has not received the official notice of dissolution from the Elections Commission, after an unsteady two years and not having the required amount of members, it would not be a surprise if MRM gets dissolved this year. 

And with that, this year’s Presidential race gets even more interesting as people are now starting to wonder which political parties will be as coalition partners before this year’s elections!

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