Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has announced he will not be competing in the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) presidential primary scheduled for next month.
Local media reported that the former president made his decision via a one-page statement declaring: “I have decided not to take part in the PPM presidential primary scheduled to be held on the 30th of next month”.
Gayoom, appointed president of the party earlier this year, stated that “there are people within PPM leadership who are capable of fulfilling the Maldives presidency”.
Gayoom’s statement comes after he told Sun Online on February 19 that he would announce his decision regarding the party’s presidential primaries in nine days.
“I have made a decision, God willing, on how I will proceed. But I do not want to announce it here. When these nine days pass, it will be known whether I will compete or not,” Gayoom told Sun Online earlier this month.
So far, Gayoom’s half-brother PPM MP Abdulla Yameen and PPM Interim Deputy Leader Umar Naseer are the only two candidates competing in the upcoming presidential primary.
Retiring from politics
In February 2010, Gayoom announced that he was retiring from politics after endorsing Ahmed Thasmeen Ali as leader of his former party, the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP).
However, in September 2011, the former president opted to form the PPM after resigning from his position as ‘Honorary Leader’ (Zaeem) of the DRP.
Speaking to press back in 2011, Gayoom said he made the decision based on the assurance that the DRP would function “according to certain principles.”
“At the time and even up till yesterday, I was at the most senior post of one of the largest political parties in the country,” he said.
“So how can it be said that the person in the highest post of a political party is not involved in politics? Up till yesterday I was in politics. Today I am forced to create a new party because of the state of the nation and because it has become necessary to find another way for the country.”
As “a lot of citizens” had pleaded with him to form a new party, Gayoom said he made the decision to return to Maldivian politics as “a national obligation.”