Main opposition party, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has decided to intervene in the case submitted by their leader and presidential candidate, former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom over Elections Commission (EC)’s rejection of his candidacy form for the upcoming presidential elections.
Supreme Court has scheduled the preliminary hearing in the case for tomorrow. Yameen’s presidential agent and PPM’s Secretary General Mohamed Tholal, on Thursday, told Sun PPM’s decision to submit an intervention form as an intervenor in the case.
Tholal, noting efforts were underway to submit the form, said it would be done at the earliest.
Yameen was sentenced to 11 years in prison for money laundering and bribery in connection to the sale of V. Aarah for resort development on December 25, 2022. His appeal of the conviction is ongoing at the High Court, but has been stalled as judges presiding the case are on leave.
The EC rejected Yameen’s candidacy due to his conviction, citing Article 109 (f) of the Constitution, which disqualifies candidates who have been sentenced to over 12 months in prison for a crime, unless it has been at least three years since they have completed their sentence or have been pardoned.
However, there is legal debate regarding how the article is interpreted. The case submitted by Yameen, in the form of a constitutional appeal, claims the sentence stipulated in the article could be interpreted as a sentence, which has no further room for any appeal, or change.
Supreme Court has instructed EC to respond to Yameen’s case in writing.
The court, by law, must make a decision on the case within a period of maximum seven days.
Nevertheless, Yameen has asked the People’s National Congress (PNC) – PPM’s coalition partner - to produce its own presidential candidate as a “backup”, in case he loses at Supreme Court.
With PNC’s senate officially deciding to contest the election this morning, the party has opened applications for interested candidates to submit their names before 2:00pm this afternoon. The senate is scheduled to vote on a candidate at 4:00pm this evening.