Forty-seven candidates, officially endorsed by former President Abdul Yameen Abdul Gayoom, have submitted their nomination papers to the Elections Commission of Maldives (EC) for the upcoming parliamentary elections. Yameen, presently under house arrest following a conviction and jail sentence on corruption charges, is concurrently laying the groundwork for his new political party, the People’s National Front (PNF).

Mohamed Maleeh Jamal, a key figure in Yameen’s PNF establishment efforts, announced that the specific parliamentary seats for which the Yameen-endorsed candidates will vie will be revealed imminently through media channels.

In a recent meeting with his candidates, Yameen expressed apprehension over the Supreme Court’s stay order on the implementation of Parliamentary amendments to the articles relating to the impeachment of the President or Vice-President. One branch of government should abstain from imposing or interfering with the actions of another, primarily when the latter is functioning within its constitutionally designated mandate, he said.

He further underscored the importance of respecting the autonomy and jurisdiction of each governmental branch, advocating for eliminating legal ambiguities in relation to the specific powers or authorities with which one branch of government can or cannot interfere. Despite the apex court’s stay order on the impeachment amendment, Parliament passed a motion to disregard the court order.

According to the EC, the ballot paper will feature the candidates’ photo, and the logo of the party they represent. While candidates endorsed by Yameen have submitted their nomination papers, the emblem of the PNF will not be represented on the ballot paper since the party has yet to be officially formed. In light of this, the PNF has requested that the EC allow their candidates to be represented by a designated colour, according to Jamal.

The PNF, a faction that has seceded from the ruling coalition of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the People’s National Congress (PNC), has received authorisation from the EC to establish itself as a political party. However, the party has deferred its official registration as a political party until its founder, former President Yameen, is released from prison.