The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has called on parliament to reconvene to stop the Supreme Court from potentially annulling the election results, claiming the apex court consists of “some disgraced judges who face allegations of lewd conduct.”
The MDP’s national executive committee held an emergency meeting today, after the Supreme Court accepted an appeal by the Jumhooree Party (JP) to annul September’s presidential polls. The JP placed third and narrowly missed the run-off.
The MDP was the front runner with 45.56 percent of the vote and is set to compete with Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) in run-off elections on September 28. International and domestic observers have praised the free and fair election process.
Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed has been implicated in a series of widely circulated sex videos, but the judicial oversight body Judicial Services Commission (JSC) decided not to suspend the judge against the recommendation of a subcommittee it set up to investigate the matter. JP’s presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim was a member on the JSC at the time.
Meanwhile, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, in a damning report in May expressed concern over “inadequate and politicized” composition of the JSC and “shock” that members of the judiciary, including the Supreme Court, held memberships in political parties.
The PPM has declared that it supports the JP’s Supreme Court appeal, citing concern over election irregularities.
Reconvene parliament: MDP
The MDP’s National Executive Committee has requested the party’s Parliamentary Group to reconvene parliament sittings and take steps through the parliament to “stop undue influence of political parties in the judiciary.”
“We will not allow a courthouse that consists of some disgraced judges who face allegations of lewd conduct to abrogate the will of the people and disrupt the constitution,” the MDP said in a statement.
The Supreme Court yesterday accepted a case from the JP seeking to have the vote annulled.
The High Court in a separate case today has ordered the Elections Commission to allow the JP supervised access to the voter lists following claims dead people had registered to vote, and that the same people registered at different locations to vote.
Gasim’s Jumhooree Coalition, which includes the Islamist Adhaalath Party, polled 24.07 percent (50,422 votes) in the first round, but has, however, variously contended that he should have received between 10,000 to 30,000 more votes, and has disputed the result in the High Court, Supreme Court, at rallies, and on his television station – Villa TV – declaring that he should have placed first.
Meanwhile, the PPM has come out in support of the JP’s ‘Vote Rigged’ campaign at a press conference yesterday. PPM’s Abdulla Ameen said the party would accept a Supreme Court verdict regardless of the outcome.
The party will continue campaigning for the second round. “I call on people in the islands who supported others to join our movement. Your participation in this campaign, especially your support for PPM’s candidate will be encouragement for the work underway in the court process,” Ameen said.
Three videos apparently showing Judge Hamid engaging in sexual relations with foreign women were leaked on social media in July. According to Maldivian law, the crime of fornication is subject to 100 lashes and banishment or house arrest for a period of eight months.
Minivan News understands that one of the newly leaked videos, time-stamped January 24 2013, shows the judge fraternising with a topless woman with an eastern European accent. At one point, the judge appears to lean right into the camera, with his face visible.
Afterwards, the woman repeatedly encourages the judge to drink wine from a mini-bar.
“If I drink that I will be caught. I don’t want to be caught,” the judge insists, refusing.
The room and date stamp appears to be the same as that in previously leaked footage of Hameed meeting a local businessman Mohamed Saeed, the director of ‘Golden Lane’.
In that video, Hameed asserts that he was one of Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) Presidential Candidate’s Abdulla Yameen’s “back-ups”, and that his stand was “to do things the way Yameen wants”.
“Even [Speaker of Parliament] Abdulla Shahid will know very well that my stand is to do things the way Yameen wants. That the fall of this government was brought with our participation,” he appears to add, although the audio quality is poor.