Despite the jailed opposition leader Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s directives against it, his party, the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), has initiated informal discussions with Jumhooree Party (JP). 

Earlier Yameen’s instruction to the PPM-PNC coalition to boycott the elections was ignored, and the coalition’s candidate, Dr Mohamed Muizzu, ended up securing the highest number of votes in the first round at 46 percent.

The Maldives National Party (MNP) has also joined the PPM-PNC coalition. After its council voted in favour of forming a coalition with PPM-PNC, the party formalised the decision on Tuesday by signing an agreement with the opposition coalition. 

Independent contender Ahmed Faris Maumoon, who garnered 1.35% of total votes in the first round, has also entered the spotlight. Maumoon revealed he has received coalition offers from both main contenders—President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Muizzu of the PPM-PNC coalition.

Ahmed Faris Maumoon has stated that his discussions with President Solih and Dr. Muizzu will be guided by the manifesto he presented during his independent campaign. This adds another layer of complexity, as it suggests that the coalition talks will not just be about numbers but may also involve substantive policy negotiations.

On the other hand, President Solih, who finished second in the first round, is also actively seeking coalition partners. The ruling party has extended invitations to various political entities, including The Democrats, although no formal agreement has been reached yet.

The leading opposition party PPM-PNC, after winning the first round, could capitalise on the momentum if they successfully form coalitions with parties like JP and MNP.

The willingness of PPM to disregard explicit instructions from its leadership is a symptom of the perceived importance of coalition formations in this election. This could signify a pragmatic, if not rebellious, new direction for the party.