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Maldives Leader: Maldives leader faces rift days after taking power

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MALE: Maldives ex-president Abdulla Yameen will form a new political party, his lawyer said, splitting from his successor’s ruling party and posing the new president a major setback ahead of parliamentary polls.
Primarily known as one of the most expensive holiday destinations in South Asia, with pristine white beaches and secluded resorts, the strategic Indian Ocean island nation has also become a geopolitical hotspot.
Global east-west shipping lanes pass the nation’s chain of 1,192 tiny coral islands, stretching around 800 kilometres (500 miles) across the equator.
President Mohamed Muizzu, 45, was sworn in last week after being elected in September as a proxy for his pro-China predecessor Yameen, who was disqualified from the polls because he was serving an 11-year jail term for corruption.
On Friday, Yameen loyalists accused Muizzu of seeking to hijack the leadership of their Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), and the former president will now form his own party.
Yameen “chose to resign from the PPM and President Muizzu’s coalition”, the 64-year-old ex-leader’s lawyer Mohamed Jameel told AFP late on Friday.
“Yameen is now forming a new political party and a significant portion of the party is rallying behind him.”
Muizzu needs to win a majority in parliamentary elections slated for next year to implement his legislative program.
One of the new president’s key election pledges was to evict a small contingent of Indian troops.
Yameen, 64, who was released from jail to serve his sentence from home soon after Muizzu’s victory, has felt sidelined, Jameel said.
The new president had not taken calls from Yameen, the lawyer added.
Muizzu’s office did not offer any immediate comment.
Yameen leaned heavily on China for both financial and diplomatic support when in power from 2013-2018.
After his election, Muizzu insisted that he was only “pro-Maldives” and was willing to work with all, including China and regional power India.



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