PNC officially decides to contest in the presidential elections, opens applications for ticket

Senate meeting of People's National Congress (PNC) held on August 3, 2023. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Shaathiu Abdulla)

Opposition party, People’s National Congress (PNC), has officially decided to produce a candidate for the upcoming presidential elections, at the instruction of coalition partner, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s leader and presidential candidate, former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom.

The decision was reached during a meeting of PNC’s senate held on Thursday morning, attended by 47 senators. The agenda of the meeting comprised of reaching an official decision on the party contesting in the presidential elections, and if decided the party will, how to elect a candidate, in addition to making the necessary changes to the party’s Articles of Association accordingly.

PPM’s Spokesperson Heena Waleed said PNC’s senate, in their meeting, voted in favor of producing their own candidate for the presidential election, by a majority of 44 senators to three senators.

PPM’s leader, Yameen was sentenced to 11 years in prison for money laundering and bribery in connection to the sale of V. Aarah for resort development on December 25, 2022.

However, Yameen signed his candidacy from behind bars, with assistance from Maldives Correctional Service.

Nevertheless, EC rejected Yameen’s candidacy due to his conviction, citing Article 109 (f) of the Constitution, which disqualifies candidates who have been sentenced to over 12 months in prison for a crime, unless it has been at least three years since they have completed their sentence or have been pardoned.

Although EC’s decision has been appealed to Supreme Court, Yameen has instructed PNC to produce its own presidential candidate as a backup.

The opposition PPM-PNC coalition’s leadership appealed to Yameen on three separate occasions to choose a candidate who will represent PNC. However, he refused to unilaterally make the decision and delegated the power to PNC’s senate.

Male’ City Mayor and the Deputy Leader of PPM Dr. Mohamed Muizzu and PNC’s Parliamentary Group Leader Adam Shareef Umar have expressed interest to contest the elections on PNC’s ticket. They are the only two individuals who have expressed contest.

Following the senate’s decision, interested candidates now have the opportunity to submit their applications. The deadline to submit names has been set for 2:00pm this afternoon. 

A candidate will be chosen during the senate meeting slated for 4pm through a vote.