Yameen: President aware of letters telling candidates to drop out of PPM-PNC primary

Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom attends a PNF campaign event on February 11, 2024. (Photo/Infinite Moments/Aman Latheef)

Former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom says that President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu is aware of letters sent by the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives – People’s National Congress (PPM-PNC) to candidates of the coalition’s primaries for the parliamentary elections, telling them to drop out of the race.

The former PPM-PNC leader made the remark at a campaign rally for one of the parliamentary candidates his new party, the People’s National Front (PNF), which has yet to officially register, is backing.

Addressing Sunday night’s rally, Yameen spoke about the incident on Saturday, when a female constituent from the Central Henveiru district confronted President Muizzu as he made door-to-door campaign visits with the PPM-PNC candidate for the constituency, Hassan Nasih.

The confrontation took place on the street. The woman stopped President Muizzu and said that Nasih, who was a member of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) until recently, does not have the people’s support. She also claimed that another candidate, Hassan Shiyam (VB Hassan), who she said helped secure multiple votes for him in the 2023 presidential election, received a letter from President Muizzu telling him to drop out of the primaries.

President Muizzu dismissed the allegations as “baseless lies.”

On Sunday, Yameen, the former leader of the PPM-PNC, said that multiple candidates received similar letters.

“Hassan is one of the people who received this letter. But Dr. Muizzu, the President, while claiming he is fasting, said it wasn’t the right information. He’s also pretending he was unaware the letters were sent,” he said.

Yameen added that when the PPM-PNC, when it first announced candidacy for its primaries, stipulated that candidates must have been members of the coalition for a specific period of time. He questioned why a candidate who recently joined PNC from MDP is being allowed to contest on behalf of the coalition.

“So, what is this now? We have always said PPM is an ideology. That it has some strong principles. But this is no longer an ideology. They do not have any principles. I am saying this based on evidence,” he said.

In January, the PPM-PNC rejected the candidacy of some its members, citing various reasons, including creating strife and failure to sufficiently serve the coalition.

But the coalition reversed the decision following backlash.

The PPM-PNC primaries were also postponed twice. It was originally scheduled for December 23, but it was later postponed to January 20, and again, to January 27.

Multiple disturbances were reported during polling and vote counting, including physical confrontations.

The PPM-PNC leadership was also later accused of backing independent candidates instead of the coalition’s ticket holders.