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Yameen congratulates Dr. Muizzu on PNC ticket win

Mohamed Rehan
06 August 2023, MVT 00:19
Male' City Mayor and PNC's presidential candidate Dr. Mohamed Muizzu-- Photo: Mihaaru
Mohamed Rehan
06 August 2023, MVT 00:19

Former President Abdulla Yameen has extended his congratulations to Malé City Mayor Dr. Mohamed Muizzu for securing the People's National Congress (PNC) ticket to contest the presidential election.

With the presidential election scheduled for September 9, and less than a month away, the People's National Congress (PNC) made the decision to participate in the elections as a separate party following the rejection of former President Abdulla Yameen's candidacy by the Elections Commission (EC).

Dr. Muizzu secured the party's ticket through a secret election conducted by the party's Senate on Thursday, August 3. He emerged victorious over the party's other candidate, Maduvvari MP Adam Shareef.

Dr. Muizzu revealed that Yameen congratulated him during a break in Friday's Supreme Court hearing, which was focused on Yameen's appeal regarding his candidacy rejection.

"President Yameen had called me during a break to congratulate me," Dr. Muizzu commented.

The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), the main party in the opposition coalition and partner of PNC, said that while Dr. Muizzu received PNC's ticket, he is considered the coalition's 'Plan C'. The party said that its 'Plan A' is to nominate Yameen as their candidate. However, in case Yameen's appeal at the Supreme Court is denied, PPM aims to put forward its own candidate as their 'Plan B'. The party has requested the Supreme Court to issue an order allowing PPM to nominate its candidate in this situation, given that it is the largest opposition party in the Maldives.

While the candidacy nomination window announced by the EC will expire on August 7, the opposition coalition has not made any final decisions about its presidential candidate. Dr. Muizzu said on Saturday, August 5, that Faresmaathoda MP Hussain Mohamed Latheef will be joining him as his running mate.

Despite this, Dr. Muizzu has continued to state that he was a ‘backup’ candidate and hoped for Yameen to receive Supreme Court’s approval to contend in the election.

EC rejected Yameen's candidacy, citing his constitutional ineligibility based on Article 109 of the Maldives Constitution. This article specifies that a candidate cannot have a criminal sentence longer than 12 months, or three years must have elapsed since their release or pardon.

Yameen is currently serving an 11-year jail sentence and has an unsettled USD 5 million fine due to his convictions for money laundering and graft in the Vaavu atoll Aarah case.

The Supreme Court held Yameen's candidacy appeal hearing on Friday, during which both the Elections Commission and Yameen's defense presented their arguments. Chief Justice Adnan announced that all arguments in the case had been presented and stated that the case would proceed to verdict.