The Jumhooree Party (JP) coalition staged a protest outside Elections Commission (EC) Chair Fuwad Thowfeek’s home last night with demonstrators calling for the EC Chair’s resignation, claiming the election was rigged.
A JP rally at the party’s main meeting hall in Maafanu Kunooz in Male’ was cut short last night while leaders of the JP and Adhaalath Party (AP) led the crowd to Fuwad’s residence near the water building on Ameenee Magu.
According to local media reports, police had set up barricades at the corner of the water building before the JP demonstrators gathered near the EC chair’s home.
While the demonstration was largely peaceful, police reportedly escorted a group of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) youth away from the JP protesters after verbal sparring between the two groups. The JP demonstrators then made their way back to M. Kunooz after about 20 minutes.
Threats were meanwhile made against Thowfeek and the EC’s Vice Chair Ahmed Fayaz, as well as mocking comments about Thowfeek’s wife during a JP coalition rally held in Male’ on Monday night (September 9), attended by coalition supporters from the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), AP and former Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Deputy Leader Umar Naseer.
Naseer threatened violence, saying neither he nor Gasim or any of their followers will hesitate to spill their blood ‘for God and country.’ “If you [Thowfeek] want to leave the country, you should do it now,” said Naseer.
In a press conference on Tuesday – shortly after filing a case at the High Court requesting a court order compelling the EC to release the voters list and result sheets – JP MP Ilham said that the party will not let Fuwad Thowfeek “do whatever he wants with the votes” while everyone had been talking about the importance of “nationalism and Islam”.
“We have our dogs inside Elections Commission. By dogs, we mean informers who inform as about what is going on inside the Elections Commission. Don’t you dare touch a single ballot paper inside there, we will chop off the hands of those who do so,” said Ilham.
He also appealed to the police to intervene in the matter.
Speaking to Minivan News yesterday (September 10) about the threats of violence, Thowfeek responded: “it is very sad – especially [coming from] big political parties and some with them, like Sheikh Imran [Abdulla], President of the Adhaalath Party, who spoke in an uncivilised manner. It’s a pity political parties are behaving in that manner.”
“Human beings are given the mental ability to think. That is how you know to distinguish right and wrong. I think what is happening here is someone has gone insane. When you lose your brain these things happen,” EC Vice Chair Ahmed Fayaz was quoted as saying by local media outlet CNM.
“I have not done anything wrong. If I had done something wrong I would resign immediately,” Fayaz continued. “I wouldn’t wait until any state institution comes up and says that I breached the law. I’m not worried about security. You only die once,” he added.
During an EC press conference yesterday, the commission announced legal action would be taken against those who sought to deploy Islam as a political weapon.
“The EC will do everything it can to take legal action against those who use Islam as a political weapon by labeling others as impious,” he continued. “This is a duty of the commission.”
Fayaz noted that Islam cannot be “hijacked” or “held hostage” by one particular group or political party.
“Because the Political Parties Act states that no one can use Islam as a political weapon”, the courts would be asked to dissolve any political party that is guilty of violating the law, said Fayaz.
Legal action would also be taken against people who “insult” or “disrespect” Islam, he added.
Clause 15 of section 28(a) outlining ethical guidelines in the election regulations (Dhivehi) prohibits calling a candidate or his supporters laadheenee (irreligious or secular).