The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) is committed to producing a candidate for the upcoming presidential election even if circumstances prevent their leader and candidate, former President Abdulla Yameen, from participating, Yameen's lead legal counsel and running-mate, Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, has said.
Yameen filed his candidacy papers to contest the presidential election on August 1. However, the Elections Commission (EC) decided against accepting Yameen's candidacy, citing that he did not meet the requirements of Article 109(f) of the Constitution, leading to a legal challenge in the Supreme Court.
Yameen is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence due to a conviction involving money laundering and bribery. While his appeal is pending at the High Court, Article 109(f) of the Constitution mandates that a criminal offender sentenced to more than 12 months in prison can contest the presidential election only after a lapse of three years from the sentence's completion or pardon. Therefore, he cannot contest the election unless a higher court quashes the lower court conviction.
After a Supreme Court hearing on the matter, Jameel spoke with the press, stating that should Yameen's candidacy become unfeasible, an alternative PPM candidate would be nominated. He emphasized that the worst-case scenario would involve fielding a candidate through the affiliate party, The People's National Congress (PNC).
"In the case an alternative plan is required, the PPM will opt for the alternative plan. I believe the PNC strategy will be the worst-case scenario," Jameel said.
Jameel had previously said the EC's decision not to accept Yamee's candidacy was wrong. He said the lawyers representing the EC and the Attorney General's Office had failed to directly address the issues raised during the Supreme Court hearing.
Meanwhile, PPM's Vice President, Ahmed Shiyam, affirmed that the party would present a candidate for the presidential election. President Yameen stands as Plan A, with another PPM candidate as Plan B. If both plans falter, Plan C entails nominating a candidate from PNC, he said.
With the deadline for submitting presidential candidacy documents approaching, Yameen himself has requested the Supreme Court's permission for the PPM to field an alternative candidate should he be unable to run. Anticipating such a scenario, the PNC has already designated Male' City Mayor Dr. Mohamed Muizzu as their "backup" presidential nominee.