Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed on Saturday sacked his Home Minister and India-baiter Mohamed Jameel Ahmed citing “conflict of interests” after the Minister switched parties, and was named vice-presidential candidate by former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s party, the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

“He was advised to submit his resignation as there was a conflict of interest,” Masood Imad, spokesperson for the President told The Hindu over the phone from Male. “But when he did not, the President terminated his services.” Other Ministers of the PPM, part of the ruling coalition, will continue.

The conflict of interest was that Dr. Waheed, who is from the Ghaumee Itthihaad Party, too was contesting the polls, and it would be untenable for a competing candidate’s running mate to continue in the Ministry, said the President’s supporters. A presidential press release said Mr. Jameel was dismissed but gave no reasons. In the release, the President thanked Mr. Jameel for his services as Home Minister.

Mr. Jameel, whose fast and furious tweeting has often landed him in trouble, tweeted: “I am being informed by HEP Dr. Waheed that I have been dismissed from my post as Home Minister for joining PPM & becoming running mate,” and “I extend my well wishes to HEP Dr. Waheed and his team’s attempt to win the upcoming election which PPM will also attempt to win and succeed.”

Mr. Jameel, who was Dhivehi Qaumee Party’s deputy leader, had justified his shift of loyalties and tweeted earlier: “This is one of the most important night of my political career, I remain ever committed to serve this nation in whatever capacity I can.”

Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Ahmed Shafeeu has been appointed acting Home Minister.

First round

The first round of presidential polls will be held on September. If no candidate manages over 50 per cent of the votes polled, a run-off will be held. PPM announced Mr. Gayoom’s half-brother and economist Abdulla Yameen as its presidential candidate. The biggest party, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), had already announced former President Mohamed Nasheed as its candidate.

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