Legal Politics

Opposition mounts legal challenge to suspension of councillors

The opposition has sought a court order to lift the suspension of three Gaaf Alif atoll councillors censured for meeting the Indian ambassador to the Maldives without approval from the government.

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, together with the three council members, filed the case at the civil court on Sunday, according to local media.

The disciplinary action by the Local Government Authority came after councils were warned against meeting foreign diplomats without written permission from Malé.

“We were having dinner with the Indian Ambassador Akhilesh Mishra around the time LGA issued the circular. We received a copy of the circular more than half an hour after the dinner meeting,” council member Ahmed Fuad previously told the Maldives Independent.

The opposition councillors also contest the LGA’s authority to impose such a ban on elected representatives.

Appearing on the state broadcaster Friday night, Home Minister Ahmed Azleen, who chairs the LGA, contended that informing foreigners about domestic affairs could threaten Maldivian sovereignty and independence.

In late April, the decentralisation law was amended to remove six representatives from city and atoll councils as well as a member representing the public from the LGA’s board.

The president was authorised to appoint the other five members, subject to parliamentary approval, including a cabinet member, a chief executive officer, a civil society member, and two experts in the fields of gender equality and public administration.

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