Following former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom’s decision to leave the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and form a new party, two deputy leaders of PPM have publicly declared their support for President Dr Mohamed Muizzu. 

Defence Minister Ghassan Maumoon and Fisheries Minister Ahmed Shiyam, both holding key cabinet roles in the Muizzu government, have chosen to back President Muizzu over aligning with Yameen’s new political venture.

Ghassan, a former MP and the youngest son of ex-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, had previously shown loyalty to his uncle Yameen even during familial political strife. His decision marks a significant shift from his earlier stance. 

Similarly, Shiyam, who was closely aligned with Yameen during his presidency, now views President Muizzu as the future leader of the nation, acknowledging the sacrifices made in the recent election and the public’s expectations from Muizzu’s government.

This realignment comes after Yameen, who is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for bribery and money laundering, announced his intention to establish a new political party. 

The move follows a growing rift within the PPM-PNC coalition, which intensified after Muizzu’s election victory. Yameen, despite being under home confinement with limited freedoms, has remained politically active, forming a 13-member steering committee to manage PPM affairs. This action, however, led to the expulsion of former technology minister Mohamed Maleeh Jamal from PPM, for leading what the party deemed an irregularly formed committee.

PPM has scheduled a senate meeting for Saturday, to deliberate on actions necessary in preparation for the upcoming parliamentary election, particularly in light of Yameen’s departure. The coalition, which includes the People’s National Congress (PNC), plans to contest the election, with primaries scheduled for January 20.

Yameen’s new party, set to be officially registered following approval from the Elections Commission, represents his continued influence in Maldivian politics. His lawyer Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed described the decision to form a new party as difficult but necessary due to the alleged betrayal by Muizzu and the current PPM leadership. 

The new party, reflecting Yameen’s political ideology, is expected to be a significant contender in the parliamentary elections and the 2028 presidential election.