PPM holds unofficial talks with JP despite Yameen’s instructions

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

Opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), in violation of the instruction of the party’s leader, former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom, has initiated unofficial talks with Jumhoory Party (JP) regarding the formation of a coalition.

The jailed opposition leader, Yameen, through a note after Saturday’s election, instructed the opposition PPM-PNC coalition’s leadership against holding coalition discussions with JP for the second round.

A senior official from PPM confirmed that the party is holding unofficial discussions with JP to Sun, adding that the official was unaware whether as to Yameen had withdrawn or altered his earlier instructions.

JP – a party of over 23,000 members, won just 5,460 votes in the presidential elections – 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.

The party is scheduled to decide on a stance for runoff in a council meeting slated for Wednesday.

JP decided to independently contest the election this year after rejecting an invitation extended by MDP’s candidate President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to form a coalition.

After failing to qualify for the runoff, the party is now faced with the decision to either form a coalition with President Solih or opposition PPM-PNC’s candidate Dr. Mohamed Muizzu – or refrain from choosing either side.

Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, the PPM-PNC candidate, secured the highest votes, with 46 percent, meaning 101,613 votes. His closest competitor, MDP’s Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the incumbent president, won 39 percent, meaning 86,161 votes.

Yameen, when the Supreme Court supported EC’s decision declaring him an ineligible candidate to contest the election, instructed the opposition PPM-PNC coalition’s leadership to boycott the election. The leadership went against the instructions. Yameen had only backed Muizzu mere minutes before he submitted his candidacy form.