Male, Nov. 1 (newsin.asia): The 2018 Maldivian Presidential election will be watched by both local and international observers, the country’s Elections Commission (EC) has said.
In a statement dated October 31, the EC says that to ensure a free and fair election, opportunities will be provided to local and international observers to see the way it is conducted. The election will be conducted strictly as per the constitution, it assured.
The EC further said that it has always conducted elections in a transparent manner. It pointed out that the Local Council elections conducted this year were hailed by political parties as one of the “freest and most independent” of the elections conducted in the Maldives.
On the opposition’s charge that the Presidential elections may be rigged, the EC said that the opposition had made the charge to influence the minds of the European Delegation which was visiting the Maldives.
Meanwhile, the Joint Opposition led by Maldivna Democratic Party (MDP) said in a press release that the Elections Commission has removed three more MPs from their seats, “in another egregiously partisan move designed to please President Yameen.” “The EC’s actions comes after the three MPs defied the ruling party’s whip line and refused to vote on the Government’s Supplementary Budget, which was presented to Parliament last week. The MPs — Mohamed Musthafa, Saudhulla Hilmy and Ali Shah — were among several MPs who left the ruling party in early July, after backing the impeachment motion against Speaker Abdulla Maseeh, a “crony” of President Yameen.
“The en-masse defection of MPs of the Peoples ‘Party of the Maldives (PPM) in July handed the opposition a clear parliamentary majority. But the EC, working on the instruction of President Yameen, illegally stripped MPs of their seats in order to re-impose President Yameen’s autocratic grip on the Parliament,” the Joint Opposition statement said. “The Elections Commission is acting beyond its lawful and Constitutional mandate. Article 74 of the Constitution is very clear on the removal of MPs, stating: “any question concerning the qualifications or removal, or vacating of seats, of a member of the People’s Majlis shall be determined by the Supreme Court,” it said.
“There is no law that mandates the Elections Commission to decide or announce whether MPs have been stripped of their seats. In removing the MPs, the EC is also retroactively applying the 13th July Supreme Court anti-defection verdict.” “The three MPs are the third batch of defecting MPs to be removed by the EC. Since the submission of the no confidence motion, the EC has unconstitutionally removed 10 of the 15 MPs from their seats.” “The EC has acted as a de-facto rubber stamp for President Yameen in a number of politically motivated, illegal and unconstitutional actions in recent years. The President of the Commission, Ahmed Sulaiman, is a long- term political ally of President Yameen’s.” “The Joint Opposition reminds each and every member of the EC to observe their lawful mandate and to serve the
Maldivian Constitution. We remind the Commissioners that the country is 11 months away from a milestone Presidential election, and they must remain within their legal boundaries or face prosecution for their unlawful activities,” the statement said.