The Elections Commission (EC) has condemned main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Rozaina Adam for allegedly misleading the public about a by-election to be held in Baa Atoll Thulhaadoo to replace a dismissed DRP councillor.
Thulhaadhoo DRP Councillor Umaira Abubakur was dismissed after she missed more than seven council meetings in a row without providing a valid reason, according to the EC.
Under article 119(b) the Decentralization Act, aa councillor can be removed if he or she misses seven consecutive meetings “without offering a valid reason that is acceptable to the council.” Umaira did not attend ten meetings which took place while she was ostensibly participating in a workshop in Bandos Island Resort.
Speaking at a press conference last week, Rozaina had said that Umaira was not informed of the council meetings as stipulated in the Decentralization Act, alleging that the four Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) councilors on the five-member island council conducted six emergency meetings in her absence as part of “a planned effort” to remove her from the post.
“There are a number of things that prove that she was dismissed without any grounds and that this was planned by them,” Rozaina had said. “Up until May, the Thulhaadhoo council held 23 meetings. However during the period when Umaira went to the workshop, they held ten meetings, four of which were normal meetings but the other six were held as emergency meetings.”
She added that the emergency meetings were conducted to decide trivial matters. “For example, an emergency meeting was held for the sake of changing the days where normal meetings take place.”
The EC contended in a press release yesterday that Rozaina’s remarks implied that it the decision to dismiss was made by the EC and not the council.
“In dealing with matters related to local councils or other matters, the Elections Commission does not refer to the wealth and gender of the person and will act with respect to the rights of the person and with adherence to the authorities vested in the commission under laws,’’ the EC in response to Rozaina’s remarks about discrimination against a female councillor.
Moreover, the EC denied that the commission was “in a rush” to hold the by-election, pointing out that the law dictates that an election has to be held within 45 days from the day a seat becomes vacant.
MP Rozaina was not responding to calls at time of press.