The internal discord within the Progressive Party of Maldives-People’s National Congress (PPM/PNC) coalition has brought to light concerns over the instrumentalisation of state resources for campaign purposes.

This comes on the heels of allegations against President Mohammed Muizzu for his apparent preference in promoting certain candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections, sidelining officially nominated contenders from the PNC.

The controversy centres around the constituencies of Thimarafushi and Gaddhoo, where disputes over candidate endorsements have become particularly evident. In Thimarafushi, Ibrahim Sanah (Santo), a close associate of President Muizzu during his presidential campaign, was awarded the PNC ticket unopposed. However, the president’s recent actions suggest a shift in support towards Ahmed Riyaz, an independent candidate and brother of the incumbent MP Abdulla Riyaz, raising questions about the unity within the PPM-PNC coalition as well as the fair use of political and state resources.

Further complicating matters, a video circulating on social media has revealed two ministers from the President’s Office, Adam Rameez and Abdulla Naseer, openly supporting Ahmed Riyaz over the officially nominated PNC candidate, Sanah. This has been perceived as a clear indication of the government’s backing.

This has brought to light the potential leveraging of state resources and influence to sway electoral outcomes while government officials are on official visits. The discord surrounding this issue was further highlighted during discussions among government officials and council members of the island.

Similarly, in the Gaddhoo constituency, government ministers have been accused of campaigning for Mohamed Ali, an independent candidate related to Education Minister Dr Ismail Shafeeu, despite the PNC’s official nomination of Mahmood Shafeeg (Maha) for the seat. This situation has led to allegations of misuse of official positions and resources for political campaigning, undermining the integrity of the electoral process.

These incidents have sparked widespread debate over the ethics of using state resources and official capacities to influence election results. Critics argue that such practices compromise the democratic principles of fair competition and equal opportunity for all candidates, regardless of their political affiliations or support from high-ranking officials.

The PPM/PNC coalition was a staunch critic of the previous government’s alleged misuse of state resources during the presidential campaign. 

Following the presidential elections, international observers, including the observer mission from the European Union, urged key players to restrain the instrumentalisation of state resources during election campaigns, as well as reform campaign finance law and improve enforcement of the rules.