The Civil Court has dismissed a case seeking to invalidate the outcome of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) primary vote in March, that saw MP Abdulla Yameen selected as its presidential candidate for September’s elections.
A Civil Court spokesperson confirmed to Minivan News that during Thursday’s hearing the presiding judge rejected the case, which was filed last month by a PPM member.
The member who filed the case alleged that thousands of voters were not officially registered with the PPM at the time they cast votes on their preferred party candidate. Further details on the case were not available to the court official at time of press.
Sun Online reported that the case was rejected on the grounds that the PPM member, Rahma Moosa, was not one of the candidates and therefore could not claim infringement of her rights.
Umar Naseer told the online publication that he would file the case in his own name on Sunday (May 5).
Confirmation of the trial’s rejection was announced as local media reported that a rally scheduled to be held Friday (May 3) to announce MP Yameen’s running mate for the presidential elections had been postponed as a result of adverse weather.
MP Yameen, half brother of PPM founder and former Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, was not responding to calls at time of press. PPM MP Ahmed Nihan meanwhile had his phone switched off when contacted this afternoon.
Divisions between PPM supporters appeared following March’s primary, when Umar Naseer – the only candidate to stand against Yameen during the contest – accused his opponent had controlled all of the party’s organs, including the council and election committee, and had “rigged” the vote in his favour by ballot stuffing, falsifying the count.
The allegations have been rejected by Yameen and the wider PPM, while Naseer found himself dismissed from the party late last month after he refused to respond – either verbally or in writing – during a seven day period provided by the PPM’s disciplinary hearing to retract the allegations.
Amidst the formation of divisions in the party at the time, PPM member Rahma Moosa lodged a case on April 18 at the Civil Court challenging the results of the party’s presidential primary.
Moosa reportedly filed the case claiming that 8,915 people who were not officially registered as members of PPM had been allowed to vote in the primary.
She contended that the move contravened the Political Party Act and compromised the rights of all general members of the party.
The PPM, as the country’s second largest party in terms of parliamentary representation, last month said it would not rule out forming a coalition with President Dr Mohamed Waheed or any other fellow government-aligned parties ahead of the presidential elections.
PPM MP Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News at the time that the party had already engaged in talks over the possibility of forming a power sharing agreement with other parties in the government of President Waheed, although no final decision had yet been taken.
Nihan said that rival political parties needed to reassess their views on power sharing after thousands of people attended a gathering held by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on April 19 to announce the signing of Parliamentary Speaker Abdulla Shahid.
Nihan’s comments were echoed at the same time by current Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed – who is speculated in local media to be among the leading candidates to stand as the PPM presidential candidate’s running mate during the elections.
Dr Jameel told Minivan News last month that a changed political landscape since the country’s first multi-party elections in 2008, necessitated a willingness to share power more than ever.
“We have to recognise that the PPM and the [opposition] Maldivian Demoratic Party (MDP) are the two major political forces in the country capable of winning elections. Hence, if the governing coalition desires to forge an alliance, it cannot realistically exclude the PPM from any such move. Whether a coalition, inclusive of the PPM can be realised prior to the elections is possible or not, we cannot alienate major political parties in an election,” he said at the time.
“Therefore, the role of smaller parties attempting to win an election of this scale without the inclusion of major political parties is in my opinion, a risky business,” Dr Jameel added.