Maldives ex-pres gets green light to form new political party

Maldives' electoral body on Thursday accepted the application to establish former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's new party.

After initially rejecting the application, Elections Commission led by its chief Ahmed Shareef had accepted the application submitted by Fonadhoo lawmaker Abdul Raheem Abdulla after he had resigned from the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) earlier this week.

The commission said the application to form a new political party named People's National Congress was rejected as the applicant was a member registered with another political party.

"When Abdul Raheem submitted the application he was a member of PPM. So we decided to reject the application," Shareef had explained.

Yameen had moved to register a new political party as the dispute over the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) leadership drags on.

Speaking to local reporters after handing over a dozen more party tickets without a primary for the parliamentary elections last week, Yameen said the move to form a new party was with his "blessing."

"We can't head to an election with the party's future shrouded in uncertainty. Supreme Court is in recess. We don't when or how the verdict would come. So we can't take any chances," Yameen explained the reasons behind the bid to form a new party.

The former president also urged his supporters to immediately switch to the party if and when the comes.

The Civil Court in 2016 found former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom guilty of violating the constitution, party charter and the political party law and handed-over party control to half brother and the then president Yameen.

Gayoom however was unceremoniously ousted from the party after falling-out with his half brother Yameen.

However, a lawsuit was filed challenging the legality of the PPM leadership and asking the Civil Court to handover party reins to the elder Gayoom. But before a single hearing could be held, the Supreme Court had taken over the case.