Speaker Mohamed Nasheed has said that the process of transferring former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom to house arrest can only commence in earnest after they have met and initiated formal discussions. The former president is currently serving an 11-year sentence on charges of corruption and money laundering.

During recent parliamentary sittings, Ahmed Shiyam, the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Naifaru constituency and a member of the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), had reiterated the PPM’s stance, along with that of their coalition partner, the People’s National Congress (PNC), that the former president’s sentence is unjust,  while also calling on the Solih administration to transfer Yameen to house arrest. In response, Speaker Nasheed once again expressed hope that a meeting could still be arranged, suggesting that work to begin the process was contingent upon an initial meeting.

“When we meet next, I think we will hopefully do whatever we can to get [President Yameen] back home,” Nasheed said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is said to have facilitated the opportunity for Nasheed, in his capacity as the Speaker, to meet with Yameen. However, the former president has thus far rebuffed any attempts at a meeting or engaging in any sort of political agreement with Nasheed. Yameen had earlier characterised Nasheed, along with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, as one of the chief architects of the harassment he has received, even though Nasheed has recently publicly stated that the former president has been incarcerated unjustly.

While discussions to form a coalition with either of the run-off candidates for the 30 September second round of the presidential elections are still ongoing, Nasheed’s The Democrats have been pushing for a referendum to usher in a governance switch to a parliamentary model. Yameen had previously, in the lead up to the 2007 Presidential versus Parliamentary referendum, supported a parliamentary system. As such, Nasheed is seen to be holding on to hope that Yameen, who commands the support of the largest opposition against the current government, has not changed his view.