PNC holds inaugural congress; elects Abdul Raheem as party leader

Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom's new party, Peoples National Alliance (PNC) has elected party founder MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla as the temporary leader of the party.

The temporary leadership of the party was elected on Sunday night at the party's inaugural congress held at Dharubaaruge. Former President Abdulla Yameen participated in the inaugural congress required for the official registration of the party.

The electoral vote for the party's leadership was taken at the congress, which saw Abdul Raheem being appointed as the temporary party leader. Two candidates were nominated for the post of Vice President; former Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed and former Defense Minister, Adam Shareef.

All three nominations were approved on the consensus of all 357 representatives who participated in the congress.

40 members were also assigned to the steering committee of the party. All members previously belonged to Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

While the official logo and color of the party were unveiled at the congress meeting, the party charters and manifesto were also approved during the sitting.

Officials from the Elections Commission were present at PNC's inaugural congress. While the members of the party are working tirelessly to register the party, the party has faced several challenges in their bid. The registration of the party is still at risk due to the recent amendments brought to the existing regulations of the Elections Commission.

The new regulations state that if the commission identifies that the resources of an existing party is being used to form a new political party, the commission reserves the right to revoke the permit issued to form the new political party.

According to the amendment, in the case that the formation of a new party leads to the leadership positions of an existing party to be vacated, and there are no officials to run the existing party, the commission has the authority to reject the registration of the new party.

In addition to this, the party registration permit may also be revoked in the instance that undue influence and authority is used to create a new party.

The commission also reserves the right to hold off party registration if such a complaint is received during the registration process until the investigation of the complaint is concluded.

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

The decision came amid allegations that the Elections Commission was deliberately delaying registration of the People's National Congress. It is largely believed that the new regulations would cause further challenges to PNC in facing the upcoming parliamentary elections.

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.

A lawsuit was then 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.