Yameen faction demands President Muizzu’s resignation, a week into term

Former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom greets supporters gather outside his residence on October 1, 2023. (Sun Photo/Maahil Athif)

The conflict within the PPM-PNC coalition boiled over on Thursday, just short of a week into President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s administration, with the faction loyal to former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom demanding the incumbent’s resignation.

Yameen resigned as the leader of PPM on Thursday night, and announced plans to leave the party and form a new one.

Former technology minister Mohamed Maleeh Jamal, a close aide to Yameen to was expelled from PPM earlier Thursday, has demanded President Muizzu’s resignation.

In a post on X, Maleeh wrote that the new administration has lost its legitimacy.

“He failed to free President Yameen in his first day [in office]. He forgot the empty chair he used to get elected. Dr. Muizzu’s administration has lost its legitimacy. I demand Dr. Muizzu’s immediate resignation,” he wrote.

He referred to the empty chair with Yameen’s nametag which was kept in the front line in all of President Muizzu’s campaign rallies. He stopped keeping an empty chair for Yameen after winning the election.

Yameen, who was moved from prison to home confinement in October, recently appointed a 13-member steering committee to take charge of PPM, after accusing the party’s leadership of sidelining him. However, the party decided the committee was appointed irregular, and expelled Maleeh – who had led the committee.

The former Maldivian leader has decided to form a new party.

The PPM-PNC leadership was not immediately available for comment regarding the situation.

Yameen was sentenced to 11 years in prison on December 25, 2022, after he was convicted of money laundering and bribery charges in the sale of V. Aarah for resort development.

But after President Muizzu won the presidential election in September 30, he asked the caretaker president, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, to use his executive powers to transfer Yameen from his prison to his home in Male’.

Yameen was transferred to home confinement the next day.

He was later granted additional easements to his home confinement, allowing him to leave his home for medical treatment, exercise, and to attend certain gatherings.

President Muizzu had only run in the election after the Elections Commission rejected Yameen’s candidacy due to his conviction. The decision was later backed by the Supreme Court.

Following the court decision, Yameen initially asked the PPM-PNC coalition to boycott the election, but later rescinded the request following opposition from leaders of the coalition.

Yameen announced his support for President Muizzu while he had been at the elections center to submit his candidacy.