The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Alhan Fahmy has decided to contest the Addu Atoll Feydhoo constituency as an independent candidate following the party’s decision not to invalidate primary results despite irregularities.
Meanwhile, the MDP’s deputy parliamentary group leader MP Abdulla Jabir has been granted the party ticket again after the party’s appeals committee invalidated the disciplinary committee’s decision to retract the ticket.
The MDP held primaries in 56 constituencies to determine candidates for the People’s Majlis in late January. The party ticket was awarded to 29 candidates by default.
The MDP’s primaries have been marred by allegations of irregularities, but the election committee has said none of the complaints effect the results.
Alhan lost the party ticket to Mohamed Nihad on January 31, winning only 154 votes to Nihad’s 316. Shortly after results were announced, Alhan said he did not accept the results and said that polling had proceeded on an outdated voters list.
The election committee has confirmed 67 members were missing from the list at the ballot box, but decided not to hold a re-vote, arguing the primary outcome would not change even if the 67 members were allowed to vote.
Alhan was stabbed in public on February 1 and is currently receiving treatment at Colombo’s Central Hospital.
Speaking to local media, Alhan said: “I do not believe MDP’s decisions are very just at the moment. That is why I have decided to contest as an independent. Certain people are influencing the MDP’s decisions.”
Family members have said Alhan intends to challenge the MDP’s decision at the Elections Commission and the Civil Court as soon as he returns to Malé.
Despite expressing concern that Alhan may not be able to walk yesterday, family members have now said doctors believe Alhan will regain the full use of his legs. Doctors have not yet, however, detected any movement in his right leg yet.
“Doctors say it will take him some time to walk after the operation. They say that leg will get better. It is [paralysed] due to damage to the backbone. It will take some time for my brother to walk,” Alhan’s brother Azban Fahmy has said.
In addition to Alhan, primary candidate in Baa Atoll Kendhoo constituency Mauroof Zakir has also alleged irregularities in the MDP’s Majlis primaries.
The MDP’s disciplinary committee on January 26 retracted Jabir’s party ticket after he violated a three-line whip and voted for President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s cabinet.
Jabir had won the ticket by default due to a lack of contenders.
The committee also stripped Jabir of his position as deputy parliamentary group leader and asked him to issue a public apology. The appeals committee said Jabir had also violated a three-line whip on the day following the cabinet approval vote by rejecting the Penal Code.
The MDP then called for new applicants for the constituency, and had scheduled a primary for this evening.
Jabir subsequently appealed this decision with the MDP’s appeals committee, claiming the disciplinary committee’s verdict was “authoritarian and discriminatory”.
A majority of the six member appeals committee ruled today that under Article 113 of the MDP constitution, the disciplinary committee could only issue a warning, levy a fine, and suspend or revoke party membership. It could not revoke a party ticket, the ruling said.
Further, under the MDP Parliamentary Group’s rules of procedures, the group’s deputy leader could only be removed from his position after a no confidence motion within the group.
Jabir has now been reinstated to the position, and primaries for the Kaashidhoo constituency have been called off.