Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom will submit a formal application to register a new political party on Sunday, former Minister of Technology and Science Mohamed Maleeh Jamal has confirmed.

The drafting of the party constitution and other administrative issues are progressing and the party is expected to be formed on Sunday, Jamal told local media. In a post to X (formerly Twitter), he said the new party’s name and logo, finalised by Yameen on Friday morning, will be unveiled on Saturday evening.

Yameen initiated this process after his sudden departure from the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), which can be seen as a culmination of the widening rift between the former leader and President Mohamed Muizzu. Muizzu had largely campaigned on a platform that had included a heavy Yameen presence, adopting the ‘India Out’ platform as well as seeking the former president’s release from an “unjust” and “politically motivated” court sentence. Yameen departure from PPM comes exactly a week after President Muizzu’s inauguration.

Explaining Yameen’s departure, his lawyer Mohamed Jameel Ahmed characterised the decision as one that was not easy. PPM leadership had excluded Yameen from consultations, Ahmed said, going on to elaborate that President Muizzu had not been responding to former president Yameen’s phone calls since his election.

Growing tension between supporters of Muizzu and supporters of Yameen surfaced after the PPM/PNC Joint Senate decided to choose Muizzu to represent the Progressive Coalition in the event of Yameen’s inability to contest leading up to the recent presidential election. Initial frictions seemed to have sparked when Yameen called for a boycott of the elections after the Supreme Court ruled that he could not contest due to his conviction on charges of bribery and money laundering in connection with the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) corruption scandal.

These internal divisions further escalated after Yameen was transferred to house arrest, following Muizzu’s election victory. Despite his confinement, Yameen has been allowed limited freedom for medical treatments, exercise, and attending specific gatherings.

President Muizzu, now leading the PNC, had pledged to free Yameen during his election campaign, a promise that remains unfulfilled, leading to criticism from Yameen’s supporters.

Yameen’s new party is poised to contest in the upcoming parliamentary elections and the 2028 presidential election.

Additional reporting by Andrew Richards