Council candidate withdraws despite election being delayed to accommodate his candidacy

Gaaf Alif Atoll Villingili Constituency’s Atoll Council candidate Masood Ahmed withdrew his name yesterday, despite the Elections Commission (EC) having delayed the election in the constituency to accommodate his contestation following a Supreme Court appeal verdict.

Masood, who applied to contest as an independent candidate, has informed local media that he is a member of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives, and that he will assist in the campaign of the party’s candidates after withdrawing his own name.

“In reality, the Elections Commission has no right to reject my candidacy. I filed the case in Supreme Court to prove this point. As I later thought about it, I realized that contesting now will not be the best thing even for the party. I was of this mindset even when the EC decided to delay elections in my constituency,” he is quoted as saying to local media.

While local media reports that the EC rejected Ahmed’s candidacy as his Criminal Records form read that he had been involved in “committing sexual offences against a minor or infringing on a person’s modesty”, the Supreme Court ruled the EC’s decision void.

In the ruling, the apex court claimed that while a person who is charged with pedophilia or rape cannot contest in the elections as per the law, Ahmed did not have such a criminal charge against him.

It stated that the charges against Ahmed had been for engaging in illicit sex with a woman, and that these offences were of a different category. The court also noted that proof of having committed illicit sex is not equivalent to proof of rape.