Yameen instructs PPM-PNC against coalition deal with JP

JP's leader Qasim Ibrahim (R) with then-President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. (File Photo/Maldives Independent)

The country’s opposition leader and former president, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has instructed the leadership of the PPM-PNC not to engage in negotiations to form a coalition deal with JP for the election runoff later this month.

None of the eight candidates who contested the presidential election managed to secure enough votes to win Saturday’s election outright.

Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, the PPM-PNC candidate, secured the highest votes, with 46 percent. His closest competitor, MDP’s Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the incumbent president, won 39 percent.

Both went to a runoff, which will be held on September 30.

In a victory rally in Male’ on Sunday night, Muizzu invited the six candidates who lost the first round of voting to partner with him for the runoff.

A top PPM official confirmed to Sun that Yameen, who is serving an 11-year prison sentence for money laundering and bribery in connection to the sale of V. Aarah, sent a note from his cell on Sunday, advising the leadership against negotiating with JP.

“He only instructed us against negotiating with JP,” said the official.

Muizzu, who contested the election on behalf of opposition coalition after Yameen was banned from running in the election due to his conviction, won 101,613 votes. President Solih won 86,151 votes.

The other candidates who contested the election had trailed far behind.

The Democrats, composed of members of a breakaway faction of the ruling MDP placed third with seven percent of votes.

Former home minister Umar Naseer, who contested the election independently, placed fourth.

JP – a party of over 23,000 members, won just 5,460 votes – which was two percent of total votes.

The results are dramatically lower than its performances in the last two presidential elections.

In 2008, JP won 27,057 votes – which was 15 percent of total votes. And in 2013, JP won 48,131 votes – which was 23 percent of total votes. Yameen, PPM’s presidential candidate, qualified for the runoff that year by beating JP by a slim margin.

JP had been the choicest partner for coalitions in runoffs in past elections. However, with its poor performance this election, most of the focus falls on the Democrats.