The Civil Court has ruled today that it does not have the jurisdiction to grant an injunction suspending the candidacy of the Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) Feydhoo primary winner.
The decision (Dhivehi) came in a lawsuit filed by Feydhoo MP Alhan Fahmy against the MDP seeking annulment of the opposition party’s primary for the Feydhoo constituency in Addu City.
Alhan lost the MDP’s primary to Mohamed Nihad last month by a 162 vote margin and challenged the results on the grounds that the voter list was outdated and did not include 67 new members. He also alleged electoral fraud in the Feydhoo poll.
Alhan had asked the court to order the Elections Commission (EC) to suspend Nihad’s candidacy pending a judgment on the legitimacy of the primary contest.
Judge Ali Naseer however ruled that cases concerning the candidacy of persons standing for parliament was in the jurisdiction of the High Court under the Judicature Act and the General Elections Act.
Lawyers representing the MDP reportedly did not attend this morning’s hearing.
Judge Naseer said that the party will be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations of fraud at the next trial date.
At yesterday’s hearing, the party’s legal team raised a procedural issue contending that the court could not hear the case as Alhan had not completed the appeals process through the party’s internal mechanisms.
The judge however dismissed the procedural point and ruled that the court could proceed with the case. He noted that as the MP could no longer submit a complaint to the party’s appeals committee, dismissing the case would deprive Alhan of his constitutional right to a fair trial.
The MDP has since appealed the ruling at the High Court.
While Alhan had first filed his case at the High Court, the court’s registrar informed his lawyers that it could not hear cases involving internal elections conducted by political parties.
Alhan was stabbed in a restaurant in Male’ on February 1 and returned to the Maldives on Friday (March 1) after undergoing treatment in Sri Lanka.
The incumbent MP is contesting the upcoming parliamentary elections as an independent candidate.
Last August, Alhan was summoned by police in connection with the alleged blackmailing of Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed, using footage of the judge having sex with three prostitutes in a Sri Lankan hotel.
The MP tweeted a screenshot of a text message he claimed had been sent to his mobile phone by Superintendent of Police Mohamed Riyaz. The text read: “Alhan, will make sure you are fully famed (sic) for blackmailing Justice Ali Hameed. You don’t know who we are.’’