Within less than a week of assuming power as the ruling party, significant shifts are occurring within the People’s National Congress (PNC) and the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), hinting at a potential rift and restructuring in the coalition. 

Despite explicit instructions from both President Dr Mohamed Muizzu and former President Abdulla Yameen to maintain party membership lines, PNC Chairperson Abdul Raheem Abdulla has been actively transferring members from PPM to PNC.

This move, which includes the transfer of the entire PPM membership of Fonadhoo Council and Women’s Development Committee to PNC, contradicts the earlier stance of the coalition leaders. 

President Muizzu, who ascended to presidency on a PNC ticket backed by Yameen, the PPM president, had previously urged not to transfer members from PPM but rather focus on recruiting new members for PNC.

The transference, publicly endorsed by President Muizzu, was revealed in a Facebook post by Abdul Raheem. The post highlighted that senior PPM activists from Fonadhoo, Laamu Atoll, including local council and steering committee members, have joined PNC. This development occurred shortly after Muizzu’s inauguration and Abdul Raheem’s appointment as his special advisor.

In a parallel move, PNC has opened a temporary office in Male’ to manage a potential influx of new membership applications. This decision marks a departure from the previous arrangement where PNC’s administrative work was conducted from the PPM offices. The new office, located in the Dhon Manik Skyview Restaurant building, previously served as a campaign office for the PPM/PNC coalition during the presidential election.

The establishment of a separate office for PNC, combined with the ongoing membership drive, suggests an increasing divergence between PNC and PPM. This development comes despite the coalition’s united front during the presidential election campaign. 

Abdul Raheem confirmed that the new office was necessitated by space constraints in handling new applications, while maintaining that PPM’s office remains the official administrative headquarters of PNC.

With the PNC, established on 9 January 2019, now boasting over 3,000 members as per the latest statistics from the Elections Commission, the future of the PPM-PNC coalition remains uncertain amid these unfolding events. Neither party has officially confirmed rumours of a rift, but the recent actions suggest a growing independence of PNC and potential changes in the political dynamics of the ruling coalition.