Former President Abdulla Yameen has formally requested permission from the Maldives Correctional Service (MCS) to attend the inaugural congress of the newly established political party, the People’s National Front (PNF). This request, despite existing legal constraints that prohibit his active involvement in political activities due to his ongoing conviction and sentence, signifies an attempt by the former president to re-enter the political fray.

The Elections Commission (EC) recently approved the formation of the PNF, a political party led by Zain Abdulla Yameen, the son of President Yameen.

The relationship between President Mohamed Muizzu and his former boss remain strained, primarily due to the perceived lack of effort on the part of the latter to secure Yameen’s release. This discontent led to the initiation of the PNF by Zain Abdulla Yameen and his father’s loyalists, a move that subsequently resulted in President Yameen’s departure from the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), a coalition partner of Muizzu’s ruling People’s National Congress (PNC).

Despite the legal barriers, Yameen has been an active participant in the PNF’s campaign activities, a stance that is increasingly putting him at odds with the current administration. 

Mohamed Maleeh Jamal, the former science minister and a pivotal figure in the party’s establishment efforts, relayed that President Muizzu recently reiterated his commitment to securing President Yameen’s release.

“Today, the legal team dispatched a letter seeking permission for President Yameen to attend the inaugural congress of PNF. The public will judge whether [President Muizzu’s] words and actions align,” he remarked.

In November of last year, the EC initially gave the green light to the formation of the PNF, contingent upon amassing sufficient support. Despite a setback in February when some of the submitted membership forms were deemed invalid, the PNF fulfilled the necessary criteria, paving the way for its official inauguration.