President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom will not be released from prison even if Malé Mayor Mohamed Muizzu wins the 2023 presidential elections, Minister of Home Affairs and Adhaalath Party (AP) leader, Sheik Imran Abdulla has said. Muizzu, backed by Yameen, is the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) endorsed People’s National Congress (PNC) presidential candidate.

Speaking at a Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) rally on Friday, 1 September, the Home Minister accused Muizzu of disloyalty to his previous affiliations and painted him as a figure ‘greedy for positions.’ Muizzu had previously been affiliated with AP.

“If Muizzu is elected to power, Yameen will be in jail. I know,” Imran said.

Imran went on to raise questions about Muizzu’s party alliances and loyalties by pointing out that while Muizzu’s political career began with AP he would, in a quest for [government] positions, then go on to join Maldives Democratic Alliance (MDA) before switching to PPM and then to PNC. There are those in the PNC/PPM alliance who are dissatisfied with Muizzu’s candidacy, Imran said, painting the Malé Mayor as power hungry and untrustworthy.

Muizzu, the PNC candidate, received endorsements from PPM and Yameen after the Elections Commission and the Supreme Court ruled that the former president could not contest the election due to his 11-year prison sentence for money laundering and bribery.