Former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, who was jailed in a MMPRC graft case, is accompanied by Muizzu when he is transferred to his home. Photo/Hussain Sunain

Muizzu says won't fight with Yameen; peace priority

When asked if the PPM-PNC could suffer such a shock in a Muizzu government, Muizzu said he did not believe such a thing could happen.

5 October 2023

By Mohamed Muzayyin Nazim

Dr Mohamed Muizzu, who contested the presidential election with jailed opposition leader Abdulla Yameen's support at the last minute, said on Thursday that he will not do anything to bring about rifts with the former president and that he will prioritise peace in Maldives.

In his first speech after winning the election, Muizzu asked PPM-PNC supporters on Monday to give him a chance to  free Yameen instead of taking to the streets calling for his release.

However, Yameen's supporters have been gathering every night near the former president’s home, H. Dhoovehi, demanding his release. On Wednesday evening, Yameen, who was transferred to house arrest a day after Muizzu's victory in Saturday's presidential election, encouraged the move and indirectly challenged Muizzu.

In an exclusive interview with Atoll Times' sister publication Dhauru on Thursday, President-elect Muizzu answered some questions about it.

"It was very well-intentioned. Now the people have decided and entrusted me with this responsibility. As for the release of President [Yameen], the PPM-PNC members have entrusted me with that responsibility," he said when asked about his reasons to have asked of the people to stay off the streets.

"Then I'm saying I'll do it. I have full confidence in that. The first phase, it has already been successful (transferring Yameen home). Let me do the job”.

Muizzu said he asked for it because he didn't want people to take to the streets and go into chaos again. "No matter how noble the cause" of the supporters' street action, he said he did not believe the outcome would be good.

"They are doing it for a very noble purpose [street activities]. I support that in that regard. But I don't want others to get involved, cause riots and create unrest," he said.

"Even better, hopefully will get it done [releasing Yameen]. That's what I believe, because I want peace in the city and in the country”.

Although Yameen is currently under house arrest, he addressed his supporters from the window of his house on Wednesday. He encouraged the supporters' efforts.

Muizzu said he would respect the different views of party members regarding his request. The President-elect acknowledges that there will be differences of opinion among the parties in a democracy.

When asked about his relationship with Yameen, Muizzu said, "There is no problem”. On Wednesday, when Yameen indirectly challenged Muizzu, when asked if he believed it was the beginning of a major conflict within the PPM-PNC, Muizzu said he would not allow it to happen on his part.

"I will not see any such conflict or allows any space that encourages conflict. I want peace to come to Male and Maldives," Muizzu said.

Muizzu got the PNC ticket after the Supreme Court ruled that Yameen was ineligible to contest the election following his 11-year jail sentence in the MMPRC scam.

Incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won the MDP ticket in 2018 after the party's presidential candidate, former President Mohamed Nasheed, was unable to contest due to a conviction.

In the middle of this government, the rivalry between President Solih and Parliament Speaker Nasheed intensified and the MDP split into two factions. Finally, when the presidential election came, the party split and Nasheed formed another party.

When asked if the PPM-PNC could suffer such a shock in a Muizzu government, Muizzu said he did not believe such a thing could happen.

"I don't think so. That is, I put the country first, and President Yameen also puts the country first. So, there should be no problem between two people who put the national interest first," he said.