Jumhooree Party (JP) Youth Wing President Moosa Anwar has filed a case at the Supreme Court seeking a court order to delay Saturday’s scheduled Majlis elections.
“It is a case saying that the Elections Commission must consist of at least five members including the president of the Elections Commission,” Anwar told Minivan News.
“It’s in article 168 of the constitution. Currently the Elections Commission is not complete. So I don’t believe that they can hold an election.”
The Elections Commission (EC) currently consists of three members – the mandatory quorum needed for the group to hold meetings and pass decisions – following the Supreme Court’s dismissal of EC President Fuwad Thowfeek and Vice President Mohamed Fayaz on charges of contempt of court and disobeying the court’s orders.
In the days following the court’s ruling, the Majlis approved Ismail Habeeb as the commission’s third member – joining existing commissioners Ali Mohamed Manik and Mohamed Farooq.
Anwar’s case also concerns the Majlis’ rejection of the Supreme Court’s ruling. A letter sent to senior government figures following the dismissals argued that the EC leadership was removed in contravention of the constitutional procedures governing their appointment and dismissal.
The letter was signed by both the Speaker of the Majlis Ahmed Shahid and Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim – MP’s with the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).
“I have also requested the Supreme Court to disqualify their parliament membership and also their candidacy for this election,” said Anwar.
The case was file with the court at 1:30pm today, explained the JP member, although he had yet to receive confirmation that the court had accepted the case.
The Supreme Court earlier this week advised the EC that polls could proceed, despite the failure to gain the signatures of all candidates.
Approval of the voter registry was mandated in the Supreme Court’s 16-point guideline accompanying its annulment of last year’s presidential election first round.
Anwar explained that his decision was not a party one.
“None of the JP leaders have been informed. It was done on my own,” said Anwar.
“It has nothing to do with JP or any other party. This is not a politically motivated case. You will know that the vice president of the Majlis is also a government coalition member.”
News of Anwar’s case comes as an audio clip of JP leader Gasim Ibrahim has emerged on social media which appears to indicate unrest within the governing coalition.
In preparation for the upcoming Majlis polls, the three parties in the governing Progressive Coalition – PPM, JP, and Maldives Development Alliance – had agreed to allocate constituencies among the coalition partners, with the PPM contesting 50 seats, the JP contesting 28 seats, and the MDA contesting seven seats.
In the 2:49 clip, Gasim appears to criticise President Abdulla Yameen, former President and PPM leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and Home Minister Umar Naseer.
The audio appears to have been recorded after the revote of the presidential election, held on November 9 in which candidate Gasim finished third.
The court’s decision to annul the first round of the presidential poll came after Gasim had lodged a case alleging inconsistencies within the electoral register used on September 7.
In the recording, Gasim is heard saying that it would not be “easy on the heart” to endorse Yameen as he could not forget the “suffering” of his family under President Gayoom “even if I don’t say anything about it.”
“We couldn’t support Anni [MDP’s Mohamed Nasheed] because his principles are bad. We know how things are with Yameen. They are full of brutality,” he is heard saying.
The opposition MDP meanwhile put out a statement contending that the leaked audio shows that “Honourable Gasim joined the government coalition due to intimidation and political influence.”
As a result of the alleged mistrust among coalition leaders and their efforts to exert political influence over one another, the MDP contended that living standards have fallen and government services have deteriorated in the past four months.
“MDP has always been advocating that in a presidential system the public will not benefit from a coalition government. At such a critical juncture, this [leaked] phone calls has revealed the extent to which the coalition has unraveled,” the statement read.