A Supreme Court decision to allow the election of a municipal council to serve within Addu has effectively ruled in favour of government plans to provide city status to the southerly atoll, Attorney General Dr Ahmed Ali Sawad has said.
Dr Sawad said that the last minute decision taken yesterday by the Supreme Court to repeal an earlier Civil Court ruling disallowing Addu Atoll to hold city status was final and would not face the scrutiny of any additional appeals after today’s polling.
Elections set to appoint a council to serve a newly formed Addu City were cancelled by the Elections Commission earlier this week by the Civil Court, after it invalidated the criteria established by the Local Government Authority to determine cities.
Dr Sawad said that the Supreme Court had now effectively ruled in favour of the government’s aim to have Addu Atoll recognised as a city.
Haveeru reported that the five Supreme Court judges unanimously ruled that the Civil Court decision to invalid the city criteria had the potential to create conflict in Maldivian society, as well as violate the legal rights of candidates contesting the election in Addu.
Following the Supreme Court order, Elections Commissioner Fuad Thaufeeq recalled an earlier decision to cancel the election in Addu – however it still remains unknown as to how the confusion impacted voter turnout.
The Supreme Court decision was met with criticism from Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, leader of the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), who claimed that the party had been severely hindered by the short notice given to participants for the elections.
“It was clearly announced [the Addu elections] would not be today,” he said. “[The decision to hold them] has given the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) an advantage due to their larger finances. We should have had more time to allow constituents to return.”
Thasmeen said that the party would reluctantly follow the ruling of the Supreme Court nonetheless.