Male, March 6 (AVAS): The Maldivian ruling party Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) on Monday submitted a draft anti-defection law to parliament which, if passed, would disqualify lawmakers elected on party tickets if they quit, change or are dismissed from the party.
Details of the draft law submitted by the chief government lawmaker Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik are not known. But according to the summary, the law would specify the regulations and conditions under which by-elections would be held following a disqualification.
The draft law comes in the wake of a top court stay order the relevant institutions to hold off on the reinstatement of a dozen opposition lawmakers disqualified over an earlier anti-defection ruling.
The island nation has been embroiled in fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.
The court had also annulled its anti-defection ruling and ordered the country’s electoral watchdog to re-instate the dozen rebel government lawmakers disqualified over the ruling. The Supreme Court said the anti-defection ruling was issued as a temporary solution to the constitutional dispute case filed by the state but insisted that the relevant authorities have failed to bring to effect an anti-defection law specified in the ruling.
President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on February 5 had declared a 15 day state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed, purged the Supreme Court by arresting two judges and the remaining political leaders and ultimately had the order revoked.
After the original state of emergency expired, president Yameen had got the parliament contentiously extend it by another 30 days.
(The featured image at the top shows parliamentarian Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik)