EC permits ex-pres to form new party after outcry

Maldives' electoral body on Thursday granted the necessary permit to establish former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's new party.

The decision came amid allegations that the Elections Commission (EC) was deliberately delaying registration of the People's National Congress (PNC).

The party must now hold its inaugural congress before EC can give official recognition.

There are some serious challenges and concerns for PNC in preparing for the upcoming parliamentary election scheduled for April due to delays in registering the party. The Elections Commission has instructed to conclude all party primaries for the upcoming parliamentary elections by 26th January.

Former president, 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 late last month, Yameen had 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 time 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.