Elections Commission calls for run-off to go ahead as constitutionally scheduled

Elections Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek has told Minivan News that the second round of the presidential elections will go ahead as scheduled on Saturday.

“We will uphold the constitution and hold the election on the 28th,” said Thowfeek.

Article 111 of the constitution mandates a run-off election within 21 days of a first round of polling if no candidate gains more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round.

The decision comes despite a Supreme Court ruling on Monday (September 23) ordering all state institutions to delay preparations for the poll until it issues a verdict in a case filed against the EC by the Jumhooree Party (JP), seeking to annul the first round in which it narrowly placed third.

“We don’t believe any organisation or institution can overshadow the constitution. So we are working as per the constitution. I am trying to fulfill the national duty of the election commission. I don’t want to leave room for those who break laws and the constitution,” Thowfeek stated.

“I don’t care about punishment from the Supreme Court. If they are right, they should uphold the constitution,” said Thowfeek.

“We are asking for police support. Among the police there are those who support an election on the 28th. But due to the nature of their duty even if they want to support us they can’t without a direct order.”

The Police Integrity Commission (PIC) have called for the police to provide any assistance the EC requires to go ahead with the second round though Minivan News is aware that sources from within the police have warned that any attempts to hold the poll will be physically stopped.

Following the court ruling this week, the EC told a press conference that – after conflicting orders from the court and the Majlis – it would be guided by the constitution, which it argued ought to be the final arbiter on electoral procedures.

However while the EC members are believed to have a majority in favour of holding the election as scheduled, Vice President of the EC Ahmed Fayaz this evening expressed his unwillingness to support the move.

“I do not support this. I want to hold elections as per the law. I do not dare participate in this. I think this is backfiring. The EC cannot single-handedly hold an election, we need administrative and security support, ” he said.

“There are 3000 officials. If their opinion differs we cannot hold this without their support. In some countries once elections start, the police and state resources are at elections commission’s disposal. It is not the same here – some island and atoll councils have already said they will not support us.”

“I do support going ahead with preparations, to be ready to hold elections at any point,” stressed Fayaz.

Aishath Velezinee, whistleblower and former member of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), the body tasked with oversight of the judiciary, has declared Monday’s injunction “a mutiny in the Supreme Court”.

“This is a mutiny in the Supreme Court. We have only seen an [injunction] order signed by four of the seven member bench. Even in a majority decision, every judge must give the reasoning for their decision in writing. We should see the other opinions,” she said.

“The Chief Justice has previously complained of orders being sent out without following due process. The legitimacy of the court order is in question.”

Velezinee cited precedent in a unanimous Supreme Court ruling given in 2009: Ruling C/2009/02, unanimous decision: only Act of God or State of War can legally delay a date specified in constitution,” she noted.

“According to the constitution there is no role for the Supreme Court in an election. There are no laws giving the Supreme Court oversight of an election. The constitution gives 21 days for the holding of second round, after the first round,” she emphasised.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate Mohamed Nasheed welcomed the EC’s decision, calling on all parties to respect it.

Nasheed emerged as the front runner in the first round of polls, with 45.45 percent (95,224 votes), followed by the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate Abdulla Yameen who received 25.35 percent (53,099 votes).

JP candidate Gasim Ibrahim – who narrowly missed out on the run-off with 24.07 percent (50,422) – has commented on twitter, writing “no one is above the law. Rule of law shall prevail.”

PPM running-mate Dr Mohamed Jameel joined with fellow party members in calling for  the arrest of the EC Commissioner Thowfeek.

“Our view is very clear, the election cannot go ahead.  We will not allow it, no one in the country will allow it,” he said.

He added that Thowfeek’s pledge to hold voting on September 28 had created disharmony and a “rift” within society.

“[These actions]  won’t ease political tensions n the country and may well lead to violence,” Dr Jameel stated.

The PPM yesterday filed an additional case with the Supreme Court, requesting a delay of one month to allow time for campaigning.

Background on the injunction

The controversial Supreme Court case, filed 10 days ago, requested that the court annul the first round void due to what the JP argued were severe discrepancies in the voter registry.

These allegations ran contrary to the reports of numerous international observers who have roundly praised the freeness and fairness of the first round, and the preparedness of the EC.

When asked about the capability of the EC during a public lecture today, former South African Constitutional Court Judge Johann Kriegler described these elections as “as good as I’ve ever seen”. Kriegler has been working alongside the EC and the UNDP in preparations for the poll.

The EC has challenged the veracity of the evidence presented in court and argued that, even were it factual, it is not sufficient to alter the outcome of the first round.

Global condemnation followed the Supreme Court’s issuing of the injunction, with the UK, EU, and the Commonwealth specifically calling for the run-off to go ahead as scheduled.

India’s Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid said his country was deeply “disappointed and distressed” at the development.

“Our understanding of the democratic system is that even if there are imperfections in the election system, those imperfections need to be addressed in a manner which is not destructive of the very process of elections,” said Salman Khurshid.

Indian warships were today seen performing maneuvers close to Male’, though authorities have stated the naval presence is part of a training exercise.

The Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs meanwhile responded to the global opprobrium by calling on international groups to “help, not hinder the state institutions in exercising their constitutional duties”.

The MDP reacted to the court’s decision by launching a series of protests highlighting the questionable ethics of the Supreme Court bench, particularly a series of leaked sex videos featuring Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed and unidentified foreign women. The JSC – headed by Supreme Court judge Adam Mohamed and on which Gasim himself sat – rejected the recommendation from its own sub-committee that the judge be suspended.

Subsequent protested have been characterised by the presence of countless pairs of white underpants, as worn by the character alleged to be Hameed in the sex tape. Numerous arrests have been made on the island of Rasdhoo after locals hung a giant pair of underpants outside the Magistrate’s Court.

Former President Nasheed also called for tourism workers to strike should the poll not go ahead, receiving backing from the 5000 strong Tourism Employees Association of the Maldives (TEAM) today.

Following Nasheed’s appeal, the Maldives Association for Tourism Industries (MATI) issued a statement warning of “irreparable consequences” to the Maldivian economy unless the election is expedited.

Minivan News has ceased live updates on this page.

9:30pm: Elections Commissioner Thowfeek told Minivan News that he was called by the head of police specialist crime command, Hassan Habeeb, who told him that unless the Supreme Court issues an order or lifts the injunction, “police will physically stop an election from taking place”.

Fuwad said he had asked for the statement in writing, and expressed concern that police appeared to be ignoring the constitution.

9:45pm: Secretary General of the Elections Commission Asim Abdul Sattar told Minivan News: “It is ambiguous, questionable and ridiculous the way [the police] are siding with the court. The constitution is of the utmost importance – it is what all other laws and acts are based on. If one article is disregarded, the entire constitution is void.”

9:50pm: Thousands of MDP supporters have begun rallying in Male near the Tsunami Monument.

9:52pm: MDP running-mate Musthafa Luthfi at the  rally: “I salute the Elections Commission for upholding the constitution”.

10:00pm: MDP MP Mariya Didi praises police and military at Raalhugandu rally – “We are all Maldivians. We all have to live together”

10:15pm: Thasmeen; we have worked with the MDP before. We believe this is a moment in which we have to work together again. We are at present facing enormous challenges in upholding constitution and protecting our sovereignty. All of us, who wish well for the country, we have to work together.

10:20pm: Speaking before going into an EC meeting, Thowfeek told Minivan News that the group strives for unanimity, and that Commissioners Fayaz and Waheed were reluctant to proceed due to the potential of arrest when contravening a Supreme Court order.

“The police, the AG, and the president are with them [the Supreme Court] so they can do anything. I believe after all these years we have recently become a democratic society, and if we become so timid, we will go back to a dictatorship.

If the Supreme Court, or any institutions go against the constitution, we have to have the guts to stand up and prevent them from violating the constitution.”

10:30pm: Ahmed Shafeeu, Acting Minister of Home Affairs, has told Minivan News that a twitter account under his name that advocated the election “must be held as stated in the constitution” was a fake profile.

Shafeeu said that a press statement would be released on the Home Ministry site “shortly”.

11:10pm: The Home Ministry has put out a press release expressing concern, with fears of unrest and anxiety among the public caused by media reports and statements from politicians.

The press release stressed the importance of respecting and adhering to the Supreme Court order to ensure rule of law.

The Home Ministry offered assurances that it would do “everything necessary to ensure the safety and security of the beloved Maldivian people”.

11:30pm: Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz told the PIC in a letter today that police have informed the Elections Commission and the National Coordinating Committee (advisory body) that it could not “participate in any activity to hold the second round of the presidential election on September 28” following the Supreme Court stay order as holding the election against the injunction would be “illegal”.

However, Riyaz stated that police “have not stopped providing legally mandated cooperation to the Elections Commission”. Police are providing security to EC members as well as the commission’s office and maintaining security for ballot boxes and ballot papers sent by the EC to the atolls on September 23.

11:45pm: Translation of Nasheed’s speech at Raalhugandu rally:

“We are a party that makes pledges. We are a party that fulfills pledges. We are seeing the various state institutions of the Maldives, various individuals, standing up in the moment they had to stand up. I congratulate the Elections Commissioner. I congratulate Fuwad. The example you have shown us is one we are all proud of.

Maldivian citizens are not ready to let Maldives adrift. Maldives citizens are ready to take our nation to safe shores. God willing, voting will start at 7:00 in the morning on Saturday. Come out, come out, go vote. God willing, we will win this election.

Maldivians want jobs, shelter, healthcare, social safety, prosperous life, a dignified life, Maldivians want a day they can do honest work, live dignified lives with their wives and children. God willing, we are bringing you this day, another way, the other Maldives, a dignified life.

God willing, there will be no one to obstruct the Elections Commissioner’s decision. Some among us still have doubts in their hearts. That at any time tonight the police may arrest the Elections Commissioner. That they may take away the ballot boxes on Saturday. None of that will transpire.

Saturday will be a very happy day. There must not be any doubt in any of your hearts. It will not be an ominous day. There will not be any violence or any other kind of disruption. Early morning, you will come out of your houses, you will vote in various ballot boxes and establish a people’s government.

Whether its today, tomorrow or Saturday, our rivals need to know, honestly, there is no reason for you to worry either. You will lose in a big way. There is nothing we can do about that.”

12:22am: Acting Home Minister Ahmed Shafeeu has said action will be taken against those who violate the Supreme Court order to delay the second round of the presidential election, reports Haveeru.

In a statement to the media, Shafeeu said that the government that all state institutions must respect the Supreme Court injunction. “I urge all Maldivian citizens at this opportunity to obey the Supreme Court order. And I remind everyone that violating the Supreme Court order or assisting such an action is a crime. The government will take necessary action against such persons,” he said.

12:25am: Local media is reporting that the Supreme Court has issued a further order to security forces to immediately stop any action in violation of their previous order to stop election preparations. Minivan News is awaiting official confirmation.

00:44am: Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad has confirmed that his ministry would not be providing any funding required by the EC for the run-off vote due to the Supreme Court order requesting for the election not to proceed.

“If the EC requires any expenditure against the orders of the Supreme Court then we will not be able to honour those bills,” he said.

00:49am: The new Supreme Court order quotes Article 141 of the constitution – arguing that the Supreme Court shall be the highest authority for the administration of justice in the Maldives. It also quotes Article 145, which states that the Supreme Court shall be the final authority on the interpretation of the constitution, the law, or any other matter dealt with by a court of law.

The ruling also sites Article 20 of the Judicature law which states the presidency, Majlis, judiciary, independent institutions, police and security forces, government officials, and all citizens must obey Supreme Court decisions.

“Since it is stated clearly, it is illegal to disobey or challenge a Supreme Court order within the jurisdiction of the Maldives”.

It calls for implementation of 2013/SC-VA-J/02 (order to delay polls) until a verdict is issued in case 2013/SC-C/42, and “orders the security forces of the Maldives to implement order 2013/SC-VA-J/02 and stop any individual from disobeying it”.

The new order comes under Constitution article 237: “The security services shall protect the nation’s sovereignty, maintain its territorial integrity defend the constitution and democratic institutions, maintain and enforce law and order, and render assistance in emergencies.”

The order was signed by 6 of 7 Supreme Court judges. It was not signed by Justice Muthasim Adnan.

01:00am: Minivan News understands death threats were sent to senior EC officials at around 6:00pm: “We will kill anyone who allies with Fuad Thowfeeq against the Supreme Court order and the Maldivian constitution. Allah Akbar.”

01:15am: Minivan News has confirmed with EC President Thowfeek that reports circulating on twitter and some media outlets regarding the supposed cancellation of the election are false. He stated that the commission will confer with its legal team on Friday and reconvene at 4:00pm.


26 thoughts on “Elections Commission calls for run-off to go ahead as constitutionally scheduled”

  1. """[These actions] won’t ease political tensions n the country and may well lead to violence,” Dr Jameel stated."""

    If Jameel wants a war, we will give him one. C'mon then, if you dare. It's time to settle this once and for all. You had your coup; we waited patiently. Times up.

  2. Fuad is one of the rare individual with integrity. I salute him and feel bad that he has to put up with so much stress because of these unethical greedy b**tards contesting a perfectly free and fair election that was held.

  3. Ahmed Shafee became almost a hero. Obviously he is among those for whom the Constitution is a worthless piece of paper.

  4. This whole mess started when the Supreme Court became over zealous and came with an injunction in direct conflict with one of its own rulings.

    The Elections Commissioner is left in a position where he is either in the frying pan or he will jumping into the fire.

    Art 111, 170 and Supreme Court verdict SC-C/2009/02 compel his to hold the election on 28th February as stated in the Constitution.

    At the same time, Art 113 and the recent Injunction also forces him to delay the election until SC gives a ruling on the case files by JP.

    He is only human and cannot be expected to do both, hence the Supreme Court should have been very clear that the earlier verdict will be void with the recent injunction.

    Art 110 - Presidential Elections to be held within 120-30 days prior to the end of existing term.

    Art 111(b)If no candidate wins over 50% a run-off election MUST be held within 21 days from the first election.

    Art 113. The Supreme Court, sitting together in session, shall have sole and final jurisdiction to determine all
    disputes concerning the qualification or
    disqualification, election, status, of a presidential candidate or running mate or removal of the President by the People’s Majlis.

    Art 170 The Election Commission's powers and responsibilities include (c) to hold and declare the results of those elections and public referendums WITHIN PERIODS prescribed my law.

    Art 172 A person may challenge a decision of the Elections Commission concerning an election or a public referendum, or may challenge the results of an election, or contest the legality of any other matter related to an election, by means of an election petition presented to the HIGH COURT.

  5. Since when can a court issue orders to the police and military? A court can only decide on matters laid before them. This is a dictator ship in disguise but then no one really questions that anymore.

    The parliament makes the laws. The courts makes sure those laws are upheld. Since the parliament decided that the show must go on the EC has no choice but to follow the constitution.

    This is absurd!

  6. No Elections on 28th September! u may not see this update on minivan news, the MDP's puppet Fuwad Thowfeek has been brought down to his right place by the Elections Commission itself!

  7. Elections Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek is a brave man and should be admired for respecting the Constitution and fearlessly standing up against the robber barons desperate to protect their fiefdoms from the might of the people of the Maldives who yearn for democracy and progress.

  8. Are these Clowns calling themselves Judges illiterate? The Injunction of 23rd September refers to Article 144(b) of the Maldives Constitution to empower its decision.

    Article 144 (B) very clearly can be evoked in CONNECTION with Article 144(A) which the Court has not fulfilled. The Supreme Court has NOT declared as of now any or part of any order, decision or action of Elections Commission as inconsistent with the Constitution which is what 144(A) REQUIRES before such an Order can be made.

    Now they come up with another Court Order to enforce the earlier one. Lets wait and see how many Generals are charged again for obeying Unconstitutional Orders!

  9. “We will kill anyone who allies with Fuad Thowfeeq against the Supreme Court order and the Maldivian constitution. Allah Akbar.”

    Go on then. C'mon! We can shout "Allah Akbar" louder than you. Does Jameel or Yameen have the balls for confrontation? Do you have what it takes to fight? If you are calling for a civil war, then 45% of this population won't take an illegitimate Supreme Court's orders lying down.

  10. @Hissain Manik on Fri, 27th Sep 2013 1:51 AM

    "Please don’t blame our Supreme Court judges. They are our only hope"

    Yes, of course. What colour of wine would you like today? Still prefer white or should that be a red?

    And oh yes, the prostitutes menu will be right along; what colour would you prefer? Black, brown, yellow or just white girls?

  11. Saying: "We will kill muslim brothers and sisters", followed by "Allah Akbar".

    Anyone can see these pretenders are not fighting for Islam, but for personal gain of money and power.

  12. Could Minivan News please check on the issue of the 'happening dispute in interpretation of Constitution' try checking on Constitution Article 113 which give Supreme Court the ultimate power. Still wondering why so many different versions online.

  13. Ekaloas buddy

    Nobody has ever really fought for 'Islam'. It has always, ALWAYS been for money and power, all the way from the beginning of Islam to what is happening in Dhivehistan right now.

  14. Isnt it all too obvious Fuad Thoufeeq is not in control of what he says. Just the other day he said the obvious - that the supreme Court has the final word. Every other minute he has a change of opinion. It gives credence to allegations that Anni has both black mailed him with compromising video and had been offered huge sums of money.

    At stake is something even more than elections - rule of law. That the highest court in the land could be made the laughing stock in the Maldives bodes ill for justice.

  15. "That the highest court in the land could be made the laughing stock in the Maldives bodes ill for justice"

    That ships has sailed, this judiciary did not need assistance in becoming the laughing stock

  16. Minivan's Propaganda Machine to the MAX! too bad India is not on your side anymore..

    If anyone hasn't seen the statement by Salman Khursheed last night, have a look, you may not find it ever on MDP's run news blog minivan

  17. No elections of 28th Sept, the public should occupy streets in Male and all islands.

    Male must be paralyzed and that is the only way we can win our democracy back. Enough is enough. I don't mind sacrificing my blood for the future of my children. Whether we would fight with hands, eggs, anything....it will happen.

    Ask yourself what do you want? Gayooms dictatorship blended withy islaminc extremism or a future of peace??

  18. Care to be more specific Ann?

    For as far as I know and I've just checked the major Indian media sources, Salman Khursheed's last statement was he was disappointed over the decision of the supreme court, he sees it as something that undermines democracy. He wants to 2nd round to go ahead as planned.

    India is on the site of an integer democracy and fair elections. They see no legal ground, just like all other objective observers, to delay the 2nd round.

  19. Over the centuries, Islam has provided the semiotic glue which has united the Dhivehin against foreign oppression, a unity which was desperately needed to provide the strength for Maldivian national liberty and sovereignty. The Islamic sense of struggle and fortitude also gave the Dhivehin the sense of resistance against invasion needed to preserve the liberty of such an otherwise very vulnerable nation. Hence I would never speak against the miraculous power of Islam in the Maldives, a power which has given the Dhivehi nation independence against all of the odds.

    Maldivians are reared up being taught that any Christian or secularist, or other than Islamic influence is a threat to the liberty of the Dhivehin. That is drummed into them with such force, that they derive an obsessive fear/ hatred of non-Islamic influences, so obsessive, that when this trigger of non-Islamic influence is used, the defensive aggression it provokes has been protective and a good thing, but sometimes, it may cloud their capacity to reason properly and look into the facts behind that claim of Ladheenee.

    Sadly, it is quite clear that the super strength of this conviction, so useful and necessary to protect Maldives from foreign invasion, can also be used AGAINST Maldivians.

    Over the years, selfish, hedonistic, narcissistic power hungry predators have learnt that they can get away with absolutely destructive, horrendous greed and evil, simply by exploiting this fear of the un-Islamic the Maldivians have. Simply by labeling any who dare oppose your evil ways as being an anti-Islamic influence, you turn that opposition into an enemy of the people, because so great is the feeling of this defensive/ aggressive conviction, it removes reason from the minds of most people. The fear and hate that even the suggestion that one is an un-Islamic influence arouses is so strong, that the one feeling it cannot see things clearly, he just hates and needs to kill the so called un-Islamic influence because his/ her fight or flight mechanism is activated artificially. Such won’t even bother to find out whether it is true or not.

    So, Maldivians please, hold onto your convictions by all means, but become aware that your convictions can also be used against you, manipulated to turn you into robot killers against one who is probably as good a Muslim as yourself.

    Hold onto your beliefs, but calm down and learn to temper them with reason and the enquiring mind to seek the truth. Resist any who would use your greatest strength, your faith, against you, such as PPM are doing now.

    For example, so deep is the conviction of modern British Christians in freedom of belief, to even think that a British could want to help Anni blow up a Mosque is ludicrous. If such an email existed, it would have been written as a parody of your own paranoia. I am not saying that making a parody of your feelings is right, but think about all the pain that being labeled un-Islamic has put into Anni, and other Maldivians. They are Muslims who need your Islamic Iqhwan (Brother and sister hood) and yet this Islam, which they also LOVE< has been used to alienate and torture them, and more painfully, remove your love for them, which ALL MUSLIMS need, is the support of other Muslims.

    So please, reject this evil use of Islam by rejecting PPM, as it ultimately degrades and makes our beautiful religion look ugly, petty, small hearted, dishonest. It ultimately destroys FAITH in Islam itself because people come to see Islam as merely a political weapon used to repress JUSTICE and MERCY and UNITY.

  20. @A on Fri, 27th Sep 2013 8:41 AM

    "At stake is something even more than elections – rule of law. That the highest court in the land could be made the laughing stock in the Maldives bodes ill for justice."

    I agree entirely with you. You should have a word with Ali Hameed about this, i.e. the one who goes on slapping the elastic of his under pants in front of naked prostitutes. You see, in the animal kingdom, males put on all sorts of shows to attract sexual partners, but Ali Hameed's "strip tease" has got to be there in the top 10.

    So, yes we are all laughing at the so-called "Supreme" Court of the Maldives; more like the Supreme Farce of the Maldives.

  21. What 'Ann' does not get is this - we, the people of Maldives, will fight for our independence, for our future no matter what. Even if the rest of the world backs our enemies. We routed a superpower once. We can do it again.

    What makes it's comment funny is because it's pretty badly informed. Watching VTV can do that to anyone.

  22. @Maldivian Man

    A nice story you're telling, but far from the truth if you ask me. No offense btw.

    The Maldives can only "route" a superpower if that superpower doesn't care. It doesn't even take a superpower, a bunch of mercenaries can take over the country in a matter of hours.

    At this moment action is needed, so fighting spirit is needed. I'm just afraid the people will remain marching through the streets and complaining instead of taking action, I hope for the sake of The Maldives I'm wrong.


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