The Elections Commission (EC) has rejected the candidacy of the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) presidential candidate and former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

The electoral body cited Article 109(f) of the Constitution as the basis for its decision, stating that Yameen did not meet the required eligibility criteria due to his conviction on charges of bribery and money laundering, for which he is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence.

Article 109(f) states that a presidential candidate should “not have been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to a term of more than twelve months, unless a period of three years has elapsed since his release, or pardon for the offence for which he was sentenced.”

Following the decision, Yameen’s running mate and former Vice President Mohamed Jameel Ahmed told reporters that PPM is preparing to take the matter to the Supreme Court.

With Yameen’s candidacy being rejected, the PPM’s coalition partner, PNC, is currently mulling over fielding an alternative candidate. PNC says the final decision on the candidate selection rests with Yameen.

The deadline for filing nominations for the upcoming presidential elections expires on Monday, 7 August.