'Still undecided regarding the 2023 election': Ex-pres Yameen

Former President of the Maldives, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom, has said he is still undecided on contesting in the 2023 Presidential Election.

In an interview given to local newspaper 'Dhiyares', Yameen said although less than 1.5 years remain until the next presidential election, he was still deliberating on whether to contest in the election. He did not give a reason for staying undecided.

His parties, the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and Peoples' National Congress (PNC), have already decided to present the party ticket to their leader. If Yameen is unable to contest in the election for any reason, the two parties have decided they would boycott the election under such circumstances.

However, Yameen said that even if he is unable to contest in the election, he would fully cooperate to ensure that the candidate put forth by PPM wins the election. He further assured that he would assist in putting together the party's manifesto.

Yameen further said the main priority of a PPM manifesto would be to address and resolve housing issues. While some targets included in the 2018 manifesto still need to be achieved, he added that they would be included in the new manifesto along with the new targets.

The former president said there is a long way to go for his competitors to reach the level of service he provided during his presidency. Him contesting in the election would pose more challenges to his competitors, and he lost the 2018 election because it was stolen from him, he said.

'The problem [they] face now is that if President Yameen can contest for the vote, [they] will lose their opportunity. Is this not the difficulty they are facing? I think I should contest, just to make things difficult for them. However, I still have not made a decision,' said Yameen.

Yameen said the next administration would have to spend the first three years of their term cleaning up after the previous administration. When he took over administration in 2013, he first had to undo the damages done by his MDP predecessors, he said.

Harshly criticizing the current administration, Yameen said the country has 'collapsed' and amid a disaster, thereby creating a massive challenge for the administration's successor.