Legal Politics

Ousted lawmakers plead top court to overthrow EC decision

Composite image of four lawmakers formerly of PPM (L-R): Ameeth, Waheed, Saud and Abdul Latheef.

Composite image of four lawmakers formerly of PPM (L-R): Ameeth, Waheed, Saud and Abdul Latheef.

Four lawmakers, who have been pronounced ousted from parliament by the Elections Commission, requested the Maldives’ top court Thursday to annul the commission’s decision and issue an order stating that the lawmakers retain their parliament seats.

The Elections Commission informed the parliament earlier this week that Thulusdhoo MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim, Villingili MP Saud Hussain, Maduvvari MP Mohamed Ameeth and Dhidhdhoo MP Abdul Latheef Mohamed, all formerly of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), have lost their seats in accordance with the Supreme Court’s verdict last week to oust lawmakers who resign or are expelled from political parties or shift to another party. The commission announced Wednesday that by-elections will be held for their respective constituencies.

Speaking to reporters after submitting the case to the Supreme Court, MP Waheed declared that the Elections Commission’s decision violates the Supreme Court’s verdict and the court order that later followed.

The ruling issued by the Supreme Court last Thursday states that any lawmaker that resigns or is expelled from the political party they were registered to at the time of election or shifts to another party will lose their seat in Parliament. However, the verdict does not specify actions to be taken against lawmakers elected as independent candidates. The court later issued a second order, elaborating that the ruling does not apply to resignations, expulsions or floor crossing that took place prior to the court’s verdict on July 13. Furthermore, it is specified that the ruling does not overlook the Political Parties Act, parties’ charters or any other legislature.

MPs Waheed, Ameeth and Saud were expelled from the ruling party prior to the court’s verdict while Latheef had joined PPM only after he succeeded his seat as an independent candidate.

Hence, the opposition are declaring that any lawmakers that left PPM either via resignation or expulsion before July 13 cannot lose their seats in Parliament.

However, the ruling PPM had informed previously expelled members that they are still registered to the party, which the opposition are calling a devious scheme to trap the leaving lawmakers over the Supreme Court’s verdict. They accuse that the Elections Commission’s latest announcement of the four lawmakers losing their seats falls under PPM’s plot.

“The Elections Commission announced the by-elections using an authority they don’t have. We requested the Supreme Court to overthrow that decision and for a court order that [we] haven’t lost the seats,” said MP Waheed.

MP Ameeth added that he requested the top court to expedite the case as much as possible to protect the rights of the thousands that voted for him, which would be lost if the Elections Commission proceeded with the by-elections.

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Source URL: Mihaaru-News

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