Police Commissioner denies obstructing election

Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz has denied obstructing the Elections Commission (EC) from conducting the presidential election scheduled for October 19, insisting that police only refused to provide security as the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court judgment were not followed by the EC.

Appearing before parliament’s Security Services ‘241’ Committee yesterday (October 20), Riyaz dismissed as “excuses” the allegations by EC Chair Fuwad Thowfeek that police blocked the election, contending that the commission “was not properly prepared.”

“That is the truth. The list was not prepared,” he said, referring to the refusal of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate Abdulla Yameen and Jumhooree Party (JP) Gasim Ibrahim to sign the voter registry as required by the Supreme Court guidelines.

An hour before polls were due to open on Saturday, the EC issued a statement declaring that police had moved to prevent the election from taking place.

“As we continued with [preparation for] voting, the Maldives Police Services have said no document relating to the election can leave the commission’s offices, stopping the election,” the statement read.

Riyaz however insisted, in the face of repeated queries from MPs, that police did not block the election, conceding that a court order would be needed for police to take such an action.

“Police sent a letter to the Elections Commission on 19 October. In it I said that the Supreme Court ordered all state institutions to ensure that matters are proceeding according to the Supreme Court guidelines,” he said.

He added that “no further communication” – apart from the letter stating that police could not offer security or cooperation to the EC – was exchanged before the commission announced the cancellation of polls.

However, an internal inquiry has been launched by the police professional standards command following the allegations by EC Chair Thowfeek, Riyaz told MPs.

Non-cooperation rather than obstruction: Riyaz

Riyaz argued that the election could not take place because the EC was not “well prepared”, as he believed the time period offered for candidates to approve the voter registry was not sufficient.

Riyaz stressed that the police decided to not provide cooperation to the EC rather than obstructing the commission from conducting the polls. The decision was made based on advice from the National Security Council, he said, which consists of the president, vice president, attorney general, chief of defence forces and the defence minister.

Police considered the consequences of proceeding with the election while two candidates were refusing to participate, Riyaz said, suggesting that violence and unrest would have occurred.

He also suggested that candidates would have found it “harder to refuse” to sign-off had the EC sent the voter list in parts as soon as the re-registration forms were processed.

The commissioner assured “full cooperation” from police to the EC to conduct the presidential election, adding that he believed a president-elect must be sworn in on November 11.

In an appearance on state broadcaster Television Maldives on Saturday night, EC Chair Fuwad Thowfeek was adamant that it was “the police who have stopped the election.”

“It is the people who are supposed to prevent others from obstructing the election, who have obstructed the election today. The police were also ordered to provide protection, security of ballot boxes and papers. The police stopped the election using the excuse that all three candidates did not sign the voter registry. But the Supreme Court verdict does not give the police the authority to oversee that,” he said.

“The police refused to provide security. The verdict clearly says the police must accompany the ballot boxes and papers to the polling stations. But last night the police said they will not facilitate the process. If we dispatch the boxes without police cooperation, then the Supreme Court has the space to annul the election [again],” he continued.

“In addition to that, in the morning, when our officials left the office with documents, papers, ballot boxes, they stopped them. [They said elections officials] did not have the permission to leave the Elections Commission. They stopped the election. The police officers told our elections officials they had been ordered to stop anyone from leaving the Elections Commission building with any documents relating to the election.”

“I know if [EC officials] had tried to disobey and leave, [the police] would have obstructed them, physically stopped them. The [EC officials] did not attempt to disobey, but they did ask the police why. And a sergeant there said this is what they had been ordered to do. They did not allow EC officials to leave the building with documents.”


8 thoughts on “Police Commissioner denies obstructing election”

  1. CP Riyaz does not switch off the lights, he just cuts off electricity to them. He does not lie, he merely does not tell the truth.

    Laughable if it wasn't so sad.

  2. Scary to know this man is in charge of our security. What a frightening man! Lies without a blink. Psychopath is the word that comes up.

  3. "Officer Abdulla Nawaz, speaking for the police, said the election was halted because the commissioner did not comply with a court order to have the voters’ list endorsed by all the candidates. He said police acted after consulting Waheed, government security officials, the attorney general and the Home Ministry.'

    The above is from the Washington Post. The entire world knows about what Nawaz said publicly except for Riyaz it seems. The dude can lie through his teeth.

  4. Police state indeed, blindly following orders - with a delusional geriatric (you have used up your quota of due respect for the elderly, sorry to you and sorry to your ego) and psychotic mafioso wannabe, madly pulling the strings, a statesman clad puppet who's all over the place, trying to convince the yanks he's one of them - and an obsessive, puffed up simpleton who just wants more and more (now!) - all this and more...its truly worthy of a Monty Python (or Spitting Image, anyone?) sketch, along with the SC chorus - all dressed up in fetching white pants, all spouting regulations willy (oops excuse the pun) nilly.

    Hopefully we will all tire of this farce before too long and get down to the business of getting this country back on track and forwards and stop wasting money and energy on cancelling elections. At least this sorry motley crew should stop babbling about democracy if they aren't ready for it. Pity, because the rest of us are, as you can see too well. Sadly for you we happen to be the (increasing) knowledgeable majority. You have totally insulted and underestimated your fellow countrymen. While you were gilding your nooks and crannies we were wising up. The new era of knowledge crept up on you while you were busy lining your pockets. So -peace (and prosperity for all) or fear ( and yet more prosperity for you), what'll it be?: tough choice- only for the demented brigade. Its becoming embarrassing to hang out with you - watch out for more defections. No one wants to be labelled totally insane.. unless they are so far gone and gilded that they can't see it. That means you, you and you.Are we bitter and twisted? Hell yes! Do we give up then? Hell no! This curve ain't for slumping no, no, not just yet.

  5. Our nationwide National Police service is a major political player, the police force needs to be re-structured into police forces. This should be priority for the next government.

  6. Abdulla Riyaz is just too divisive and politicized a figure to serve as police commissioner.

    Having a national police force headed by a Police Commissioner answerable to the President is truly problematic given the fact that MPS is supposed to be a civil force concerned with public security and law and order.

    The whole set up leads to heavy politicization and involvement in political issues.


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