Yameen backs 47 candidates for Majlis elections

PNF-backed candidates submit their candidacy forms for the 2024 parliamentary elections on February 13, 2024. (Photo/Mohamed Maleeh Jamal)

Former Maldivian leader Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom is endorsing 47 candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Yameen, the former leader of the PPM-PNC coalition, was sentenced to 11 years in prison on December 25, 2022 on charges of bribery and money laundering in connection to the sale of V. Aarah.

He was transferred home on October 1, 2023 – a day after President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu won the presidential elections. But less than a week after President Muizzu took office in November, Yameen left the ruling coalition, and initiated efforts to form a new party, the People’s National Front (PNF).

Yameen’s close aide, former science minister Mohamed Maleeh Jamal told Sun that 28 parliamentary candidates endorsed by the former Maldivian leader filed their candidacy on Tuesday. He said that 19 more would submit forms on Wednesday.

Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom speaks during a PNF campaign event on February 11, 2024. (Photo/Infinite Moments/Aman Latheef)

Maleeh added that dozens of candidates loyal to Yameen were also contesting the elections on behalf of the main ruling PNC – a party that President Muizzu now leads.

“And an additional 36 candidates loyal to President Yameen are contesting on behalf of the PNC. Therefore, total 83 candidates [loyal to Yameen] will be contesting the elections,” he said.

PNF received approval from the Elections Commission (EC) to initiate efforts to register for a political party on November 29. However, the party has yet to file for registration, despite meeting the minimum membership requirement.

The party said it would file for registration once Yameen is free.

Yameen has appealed his conviction with the High Court. While the appellant court wrapped up its hearings three months back, it has yet to deliver a verdict.

Despite the law prohibiting him from engaging in active politics due to his conviction, Yameen continues to be heavily involved in PNF’s activities, even attending party meetings and campaign events.