Former President Yameen’s candidacy rejected by elections commission

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In a significant turn of events, the Elections Commission (EC) of Maldives has rejected the candidacy form submitted by former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) for the upcoming presidential elections. Yameen, who is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for money laundering and bribery, signed his candidacy form from behind bars with the assistance of the Maldives Correctional Service. Despite the rejection, Yameen has the right to appeal the EC’s decision, while his party, PPM, is actively pursuing a Supreme Court appeal.

Yameen’s election agent, PPM’s Secretary General Mohamed Tholal, handed over his candidacy form to EC’s Chairman Fuad Thaufeeq during a small-scale ceremony at EC’s focal point for the presidential elections established at Dharubaaruge. However, moments before this, the EC decided not to accept Yameen’s form, citing his current prison sentence. According to Article 109 (f) of the Maldivian constitution, individuals sentenced to 12 months or more in prison for a criminal offense are ineligible to contest the elections. As Yameen’s sentence exceeds this threshold, the EC deemed him ineligible to run for the presidency.

Following the EC’s rejection of Yameen’s candidacy, PPM expressed concern and immediately initiated efforts to file a Supreme Court appeal. They reiterated their confidence in Yameen’s ability to win the appeal and subsequently have his eligibility confirmed. In the meantime, Yameen, anticipating a possible rejection, has instructed the opposition coalition’s leadership to produce a candidate from the People’s National Congress (PNC) to run in the elections. The coalition’s leadership has granted Yameen the authority to choose the candidate who will represent the opposition in the elections.