In the lead-up to the parliamentary elections, President Dr Mohamed Muizzu’s public support for independent candidates has stirred controversy within the ruling People’s National Congress (PNC), despite official denials of any statutory breach. The PNC, in coalition with the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), faces internal discord as it navigates electoral strategy and party loyalty.

Heena Waleed, spokesperson for both PNC and PPM, has vehemently refuted claims that President Muizzu’s actions contravene party statutes. These statutes expressly require members to support, vote for, and seek votes for party ticket candidates. Yet, Muizzu has opted to endorse independents over PNC’s own, sparking a debate on adherence to party principles and potential disciplinary measures outlined in PNC’s framework, including warnings, suspension, or expulsion for statutory violations.

Former President Abdulla Yameen criticised the apparent sidelining of PPM’s visibility and influence in the electoral campaign, a point that Waleed dismissed by asserting that only current party members are privy to its operational strategies. This defence highlights a strategic alliance between PNC and PPM but fails to address concerns over party unity and candidate endorsement procedures.

The discord underscores a broader issue of party cohesion and electoral strategy within the ruling coalition, raising questions about the potential impact on their electoral success. While Waleed insists that the party’s decision-making process is inclusive and strategic, aimed at maximising electoral victory chances, the public and party members’ concerns over these endorsements and the apparent deviation from established party statutes suggest a need for greater transparency and unity within the ruling coalition’s ranks.

The remarks by former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom carry substantial weight in the discourse due to his significant and contentious role in the inception of the PPM/PNC coalition. 

Yameen, who led the country from 2013 to 2018 under the PPM/PNC banner, faces legal challenges that have direct implications for his political influence and the broader political environment. His transition to forming the People’s National Front (PNF) after departing from PPM-PNC underscores a significant schism and a realignment of political forces. The former president’s criticisms speak to a broader narrative of political rivalry and maneuvering, where his legal entanglements are intertwined with the ambitions and strategies of current political leaders.