Ruling party in favour of abolishing voting rights of armed forces

[Image: PPM’s deputy leader and Fonadhoo MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla speaks at press conference. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU.]

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) on Thursday declared that they were in favour of banning the armed forces from voting in elections, proclaiming that the government is not looking to politically influence and manipulate the military to their whims.

PPM made the remark at a press conference held by the president’s faction of the divided ruling party. Pointing out that giving voting rights to the military is advantageous to whichever ruling party is in power at that time, PPM declared that incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom is not looking to take such illicit gains. On the contrary, the president wishes to establish an unbiased and independent environment in which armed forces can serve the nation.

Speaking in defence of Minister of Defence Adam Shareef’s announcement on Tuesday that he will seek to abolish Subject 20 of the Armed Forces Act, which accords the right to vote to the police and military, the PPM expressed confidence that the parliament will pass the bill after it is realised and submitted for review.

The party’s deputy leader and Fonadhoo MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla declared that the entity that will be at the greatest political disadvantage should this bill come to pass is PPM itself. He added that voting rights granted to armed forces invites political influence to the military which is a power under oath to protect the sovereignty and interests of the country.

Vaikaradhoo MP Ali Areef declared that the majority of armed forces are in favour of PPM. Describing the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s philosophy as “destructive to the nation” and, thus, unpopular among the military, he said, “If there is any damage to be caused by preventing [armed forces] from voting for those who wish to build and develop the nation, [PPM] are the ones that will be damaged. But we’re willing to do this for the sake of national interests.”

He also highlighted that the Constitution bans armed forced from taking part in political parties, political activities and labour associations.

Defence Minister Adam Shareef announced the decision to bar the military from voting in elections during the inauguration of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF)’s 12th Drill Competition late Tuesday. He stated that the objective of this decision is to separate the Maldivian military from political influences and to remove bias.

However, the announcement was met with criticism and censure from the opposition and members of the legal profession.

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Source URL: Mihaaru-News

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