Muizzu pledges ‘unconditional support’ to Yameen

Male' City Mayor Dr. Mohamed Muizzu. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Male’ City mayor Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has declared his “undivided and unconditional loyalty” to the former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, in a bid to quell rumors of his aspirations to get elected to office.

The opposition leader is currently serving an 11-year prison term for money laundering, putting his eligibility for the upcoming presidential election into question.

This led to rumors that Muizzu has been secretly consolidating power within the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) in a bid to enter the presidential race.

In a video message broadcast via Channel 13 on Wednesday, Muizzu said his support for Yameen hadn’t begun recently, and that he had loved and followed the former president for years.

Muizzu said that he had been aware of the allegations against him, but had chosen to remain silent until now.

“Because I know myself. I know my own heart. I act in accordance with my conscience. I do not do anything that I do not fully believe in,” he said.

Muizzu said that he felt like his silence had created uncertainty within the party, and had therefore decided to make his stand clear.

“My support to President Yameen didn’t begin yesterday or today. Yameen is a personality I have loved and followed for years. My support to him, and my fight for his rights is unconditional. President Yameen has my undivided loyalty,” he said.

Muizzu said that the Maldives is in desperate need of Yameen’s leadership, saying that he was the only one that can “save” the country.

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

The conviction – if it is not overturned - will disqualify him from contesting the upcoming presidential election.

The opposition leader’s political allies and supporters have expressed concern over the delay in appeal proceedings, which they see as a deliberate move by the government to prevent him from contesting the upcoming presidential election.

Though his eligibility for the September 9 election continues to hang in the balance, his party, the PPM continues to insist that Yameen is their only choice for a presidential candidate.

He signed his candidacy form from the prison last week.

But with the window for filing candidacy set to close on August 7, time is running out for Yameen and his party – which is the second largest party in the country.