The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has said it is lobbying the courts to resume proceedings in the criminal case against opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed.
PPM candidate Abdulla Yameen’s election agent, Abdulla Ameen yesterday (September 30) told local media that it was imperative the judiciary speed up the court cases concerning Nasheed’s criminal prosecution.
Ameen called on the EC to delay the second round of elections until the courts concluded the trial of Nasheed, expressing fears that the public may otherwise begin to question the credibility of the elections.
Nasheed was charged by the prosecutor general for his involvement in the controversial detention of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed, during the final days of his presidency.
The case is currently suspended after Nasheed’s legal counsel challenged the legitimacy of the appointment of the judges-panel to Hulhumale Magistrates Court, where the trial is being heard.
During a PPM rally held on Monday evening PPM MP Ahmed Shareef claimed that, once the party finished its work, the MDP would be dissolved, would cease to exist as a political party, and that Nasheed’s name would not be in the ballot paper.
The PPM MP also claimed that the 95,224 votes which Nasheed had obtained in the first round were achieved “through fraud and deception”.
“The maximum vote that man will ever get is 50,000 -60,000. That is even if they work extremely hard. [Extremely hard work such as] deceiving the people, brain washing them and misleading the youth,” Shareef told the rally.
Meanwhile, PPM running mate Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed told the rally that the Maldives would not have any stability if there is a presidential election with Nasheed competing as a candidate.
Jameel claimed that Nasheed had treated the Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed in “such an inhumane and derogatory manner” when the only wrong he had committed was to “faithfully execute his responsibilities as a judge”.
The former home minister also said that the judges who had purposefully been delaying the former president’s trial should take responsibility for the current state of the country.
Jameel previously said that the MDP leader “will not be allowed to assume power”, even if he should emerge as the clear winner in the run-off election.
The official results of the first round of Presidential Elections – held on September 7 – showed the MDP finishing the race in front with 45.45 percent of the popular vote, while former 30 year autocrat Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s PPM trailed behind with 25.35 percent of the popular vote.
The constitution dictates that if no candidate attains the required ’50 percent plus one vote’ for a first round election victory, the winner is decided by a run-off election held 21 days after the first poll.
However, resort tycoon Gasim Ibrahim’s Jumhoree Party (JP) – who narrowly missed a place in the run-off elections after finishing the poll in the third position with 24.07 percent – filed a Supreme Court case requesting the court annul the poll, alleging voting discrepancies and irregularities.
On September 23, the Supreme Court issued an injunction indefinitely delaying the second round of the presidential election until it had finished looking into alleged discrepancies from the first round.
In addition to challenging the validity of the presidential elections, the PPM last Sunday announced its intention to file Supreme Court cases against individual opposition MPs, including Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid, in a bid to challenge their legitimacy as members of parliament.
The announcement comes at a time when the PPM and its allies have lost the parliamentary majority to the opposition MDP after the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) – with eight MPs in parliament – decided to back the MDP in the presidential polls.
Speaking to the press, PPM’s legal advisor Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim said, “There is a dispute on whether [MPs] have lost their seats in parliament due to speaking out against Maldives’ Supreme Court’s order and defaming the Supreme Court, and other court’s judges. I would like to inform you we will file this case at the Supreme Court.”
The MDP and its new ally the DRP now control 39 out of 77 seats in the parliament – a simple majority. The two parties last week passed a resolution ordering the EC to proceed with polls as planned, and called for the security forces to support the EC.
The resolution, however, was ignored in favour of the Supreme Court order.
However, following a second Supreme Court order – calling upon the security services up uphold the injunction – police surrounded the EC secretariat. The EC soon announced prompting the EC to announce that current conditions were not conducive to a free and fair election.