President dodges questions about rumored rift with Yameen

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

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has refused to comment on rumors of the rift between him and former President Abdulla Yameen Abul Gayoom – with whose support he got elected to office.

President Muizzu held a press briefing to share key decisions made during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday. At the briefing, a reporter questioned him regarding the rumors of differences between him and Yameen – the former leader of the PPM-PNC coalition.

President Muizzu said that he was willing to work with anyone who prioritizes national interests, and that he does not believe any political leader would not put national interests first.

“I look towards the future. I will not hold a personal problem with anyone in my heart. It is important to me for all political leaders to put the nation first,” he said.

Last month, former Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, former Maldivian vice president and Yameen’s top attorney, said that President Muizzu hadn’t responded to a single phone call from Yameen since winning the September election.

When questioned about the claim on Tuesday, President Muizzu said that he has never made personal remarks about someone.

“This is not something I said because its about President Yameen. What I’m saying is, I have never talked about anyone in a personal level, have I? And I never will,” he said.

“Someone said this… And I told him this… He said this… I am not someone who talks about anyone in this manner. What I’m saying is, I will not talk about things I don’t talk about,” he said.

President Muizzu had only run in the presidential election after the Elections Commission rejected Yameen’s candidacy due to his money laundering 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Following the court decision, Yameen initially asked the PPM-PNC coalition to boycott the election, but later rescinded the request following opposition from leaders of the coalition, and endorsed President Muizzu.

But just short of a week into President Muizzu’s administration, Yameen left PPM, and announced plans to form a new party – the People’s National Front (PNF).