The Elections Commission (EC) is to dissolve ten political parties in February after eight of the ten failed to increase party membership to 3,000 members.
Councils of two of the ten parties – the Maldives Reform Movement (MRM) and the Gaumee Iththihaad Party (GIP) – had voted to voluntarily disband in December.
The Supreme Court in September 2013 struck down Article 11 of the Political Party Act which stipulates a 10,000 member minimum for party registration. Local media at the time reported that minimum party membership would fall to 3000 as per the previous political party regulation.
None of the ten parties fulfill the 3000 member minimum.
The eight to be dissolved are: the People’s Alliance (PA), Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), Islamic Democratic Party (IDP), the Maldivian Labor Party, the Social Liberal Party, People’s Party, Maldivian National Congress (MNC), and the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Social Democratic Party.
The EC has asked the ten parties to inform the commission of plans for any debt or assets before February 7.
EC Vice President Ahmed Fayaz said that while the Supreme Court had annulled Article 11, Article 27 which requires the commission to give a three month notice to increase membership to 10,000 members still stood.
“We sent a letter to parties with membership below 10,000 to increase their members. But these parties are not being dissolved because they do not have 10,000. It is because they do not have the 3000 member minimum,” Fayaz explained.
The Maldives will have six political parties after the ten are dissolved. They are ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and its coalition partners – the Jumhooree Party (JP), the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), Adhaalath Party, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) – and opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).
Among the six, only MDA has membership below 10,000. According to the EC website, MDA currently has 7537 members.
President Abdulla Yameen set up the People’s Alliance (PA) in 2008 following a disagreement with half-brother and then-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. Yameen resigned from the party and joined Gayoom’s new PPM in 2011.
Gayoom’s Attorney General Hassan Latheef set up the DQP in 2008. The party backed Yameen during the second round of 2013 presidential polls after it’s coalition partner JP failed to make the run-off.
Current Home Minister Umar Naseer set up the IDP in 2005, but defected from his own party to join the DRP in 2010.
MP ‘Redwave’ Ahmed Saleem established the Maldivian Labor Party in 2008. Finally, the Social Liberal Party was a splinter from the MDP – founded by former MP Ibrahim ‘Ibra’ Ismail in 2008.