By Andrew Richards/Maldives Republic
Male, November 27: The Maldives Correctional Service (MCS) is investigating former President Abdulla Yameen for potentially breaching the terms of his house arrest by engaging in political activities. While under house arrest Yameen formed a political party People’s National Front.
Yameen, convicted in December 2022 for money laundering and bribery, is serving an 11-year prison sentence. Following President Dr Mohamed Muizzu’s election victory, Yameen was transferred to house arrest, with specific allowances for medical and other essential outings, provided he informed the MCS in advance.
Yameen’s political activities have raised concerns. He initially visited the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) office, conducting rallies and meetings. After being warned by the corrections department about the violation of his house arrest terms, Yameen ceased these activities.
However, recent developments indicate a resumption of his political engagement. Yameen left PPM on Thursday, citing internal disagreements, and proceeded to establish the People’s National Front (PNF). He was seen at the PNF’s new headquarters in H. Hurafa, participating in the party’s formation and membership drive.
Photographs of Yameen at the party office and with senior lawyer Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed have circulated on social media, further evidencing his active role in the party activities.
The MCS, emphasising the seriousness of the issue, stated that actions against Yameen would be taken if necessary. Under the Prisons and Parole Act, convicts are prohibited from holding leadership positions in political parties and participating in political events while serving their sentence, though they can remain as general members. Yameen’s presence at the PNF office, particularly during the membership registration process, directly contradicts these regulations.
PPM to stick to President Muizzu
Following former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom’s decision to leave the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and form a new party, two deputy leaders of PPM have publicly declared their support for President Dr Mohamed Muizzu.
Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon and Fisheries Minister Ahmed Shiyam, both holding key cabinet roles in the Muizzu government, have chosen to back President Muizzu over aligning with Yameen’s new political venture.
Ghassan, a former MP and the youngest son of ex-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, had previously shown loyalty to his uncle Yameen even during familial political strife. His decision marks a significant shift from his earlier stance.
Similarly, Shiyam, who was closely aligned with Yameen during his presidency, now views President Muizzu as the future leader of the nation, acknowledging the sacrifices made in the recent election and the public’s expectations from Muizzu’s government.
This realignment comes after Yameen, who is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for bribery and money laundering, announced his intention to establish a new political party.
The move follows a growing rift within the PPM-PNC coalition, which intensified after Muizzu’s election victory. Yameen, despite being under home confinement with limited freedoms, has remained politically active, forming a 13-member steering committee to manage PPM affairs. This action, however, led to the expulsion of former technology minister Mohamed Maleeh Jamal from PPM, for leading what the party deemed an irregularly formed committee.
PPM has scheduled a senate meeting for Saturday, to deliberate on actions necessary in preparation for the upcoming parliamentary election, particularly in light of Yameen’s departure. The coalition, which includes the People’s National Congress (PNC), plans to contest the election, with primaries scheduled for January 20.
Yameen’s new party, set to be officially registered following approval from the Elections Commission, represents his continued influence in Maldivian politics. His lawyer Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed described the decision to form a new party as difficult but necessary due to the alleged betrayal by Muizzu and the current PPM leadership.
The new party, reflecting Yameen’s political ideology, is expected to be a significant contender in the parliamentary elections and the 2028 presidential election.