Opposition coalition’s leadership stands firm against boycotting, seeks to further discuss with Yameen

Opposition PPM-PNC coalition's leadership captured during a political event. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Opposition PPM-PNC coalition’s leadership has decided to seek further discussions with their leader, former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom following his refusal to accept the leadership’s decision against boycotting upcoming presidential elections.

The leadership convened an emergency meeting on Sunday night after they were informed of Yameen’s refusal to accept the leadership’s decision against boycotting upcoming presidential elections as instructed by Yameen after he was jailed ineligible to contest.

Yameen, in a call to his wife Fathimath Ibrahim, reaffirmed his stand was still to boycott the election.

An official from the opposition coalition’s leadership confirmed to Sun that their thinking, despite Yameen’s slam, was to move forward without boycotting.

The official said it was decided in their meeting that the leadership will convene for an additional meeting at 9:30am on Monday morning after further discussions with Yameen on the matter.

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

Despite his imprisonment, he submitted his candidacy for the September 9 election last week.

The 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.

He contested the decision with the Supreme Court, which ruled on Sunday morning that the EC was right to declare the opposition leader ineligible to contest the election.

Following his unsuccessful attempt to have EC’s decision to reject his candidacy revoked, Yameen reportedly sent a note, instructing the PPM-PNC leadership to consider boycotting the election, citing his rights have been infringed.

The leadership convened for an emergency meeting to discuss the instruction, and decided to put the matter to the vote of the joint senate.

45 senators voted in favor of boycotting the election, while 67 senators voted against it.

Meanwhile, PPM expressed their wish to produce an alternative candidate to Yameen, who they initially awarded the presidential ticket of the party despite coalition partner PNC’s ticket being awarded to Male’ Mayor Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, as a ‘back up’ candidate for the opposition coalition at the instruction of Yameen.