Yameen decides against attending Muizzu’s inauguration

Former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom greets supporters gather outside his residence on October 1, 2023. (Sun Photo/Maahil Athif)

Former Maldivian president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, the leader of PPM, has decided against attending the inauguration of incoming president Dr. Mohamed Muizzu.

The PNC leader’s inauguration will be held at the Republic Square in Male’ on Friday. Yameen was invited to attend the ceremony.

However, Adam Shameem, a member of Yameen’s legal team, told Sun on Thursday that the former president has decided against attending the inauguration.

“Despite the invitation sent to President Yameen, he informed the Parliament Speaker today that he has decided against attending the ceremony, as he believes that a person who has been convicted of a crime attending such a prestigious function would undermine its prestige, and because he believes it also goes against acceptable norms in civilizes societies,” said Shameem.

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

But after Muizzu won the presidential election in September, he asked the outgoing president to use his executive powers to transfer Yameen from his prison to his home in Male’.

The former president is currently under house arrest.

Maldives Correctional Service later granted additional easements to his home confinement, allowing him to leave his home for medical treatment, exercise, and to attend certain gatherings.

Correctional Service said earlier this week that Yameen hadn’t requested permission to attend Muizzu’s inauguration.

Muizzu had only run in the election after the Elections Commission rejected Yameen’s candidacy due to his conviction. The decision was later backed by the Supreme Court.

Following the court decision, Yameen initially asked the PPM-PNC coalition to boycott the election, but later rescinded the request following opposition from leaders of the coalition.

Yameen announced his support for Muizzu while he had been at the elections center to submit his candidacy.

Other former Maldivian leaders, along with top foreign diplomats have been invited to attend the presidential inauguration.