The Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) has said it will seek to remove MPs from the People’s Majlis through the Supreme Court, for contempt of court over their challenging of the apex court’s order to delay the second round of presidential polls.
Several MPs of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) have spoken out against a Supreme Court’s order to delay polls in an ongoing case filed by third placed Jumhooree Party (JP) to annul the vote. The court issued a second injunction on Friday ordering the security forces to halt the Elections Commission and other parties from proceeding with polls.
Following the second injunction, the police surrounded the Elections Commission on Friday and forcibly brought preparations for the runoff to a halt. The MDP won 45.45 percent in the first round and was set to compete with the PPM in runoff polls on Saturday.
Speaking to the press today, 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.”
Meanwhile, MDP MPs Alhan Fahmy and Imthiyaz Fahmy received police summons for an investigation into contempt of court. The police told Minivan News more MPs are under investigation, but declined to reveal names.
A police summons sent to Alhan and uploaded on Twitter states the MP is being investigated for “threatening judges and their families and contempt of court at a protest outside the Supreme Court on 23 September 2013.”
PPM’s legal advisor Waheed said the list of MPs they are seeking to disqualify from parliament “is long”. Furthermore, the PPM said it would not hesitate to file complaints against Speaker Abdulla Shahid if he had spoken out against the apex court’s order. Abdulla Shahid defected to the MDP in April.
Waheed also said the PPM believes the Supreme Court should decide who to hand the presidency to should presidential elections fail to take place by the end of the presidential term on November 11.
The MDP and its ally the DRP now control 39 out of 77 seats in the Majlis; a simple majority. The two parties passed a resolution on Monday ordering the EC to proceed with polls as planned, and called for the security forces to support the EC. However, the resolution was ignored in favor of the Supreme Court order.
The MDP has said it will utilise its simple majority to seek no-confidence motions against three ministers and the Prosecutor General.
In a statement on Saturday, the PPM has praised the Supreme Court’s election delay orders as a “giant stride forward in championing the constitutional rights of the Maldivian people.”
PPM contends that the court has sole and final jurisdiction to determine all disputes concerning presidential elections and is the final authority on interpretation of the constitution.
“Members of the MDP are breaking law and order continuously even now and spreading false information among the public, while also misguiding the international community,” the statement read.
The PPM has supported JP’s case to annul the vote, and has filed a separate case to delay polls to allow the party time to campaign.
The MDP has repeatedly criticised the Supreme Court for Justice Ali Hameed’s continued presence on the bench despite the leak of three sex videos in which Hameed appears to be fornicating with three different foreign women in a Colombo hotel room.
The UN Special Rapporteur for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, in a damning report in May expressed concern over “inadequate and politicised” composition of the JSC and “shock” that members of the judiciary, including the Supreme Court, held memberships in political parties.