Week in review: February 1 – 8

The last week’s headlines were dominated by the stabbing of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Alhan Fahmy in a Malé cafe.

After flying to Sri Lanka for prolonged surgery to repair spinal damage, the Feydhoo constituency MP’s family revealed he will face a hard struggle if he is to regain the full use of his right leg.

The attack was swiftly condemned both internationally and domestically, with fellow MP’s pointing the finger at local gangs and their political paymasters.

Despite his attack, Fahmy remained determined to contest in the Majlis primaries, despite the MDP refusing to hold a re-vote in the Feydhoo party primary. After losing the poll, Alhan had questioned the fairness of proceedings and will now contest as an independent.

Controversy also accompanied a number of other MDP primaries, with  Kendhoo constituency candidate Mauroof Zakir considering a legal response to what he considered to have been irregularities stemming from the party’s abandoned polls in late January.

Kaashidhoo incumbent Abdulla Jabir, meanwhile, retained his place on the party ticket after the MDP’s disciplinary committee found party regulations did not permit his removal, despite his repeated defiance of the whip.

The MDP’s talismanic leader, Mohamed Nasheed, this week told Minivan News he was confident in the transparency of the polls. Discussing the two years since his removal from the presidency, he noted that the current governing coalition would struggle to provide political stability.

Following the completion of its primary races, Nasheed revealed that his party’s legislative agenda for the 18th Majlis would include strengthening local government, reforming the judiciary, and eliminating barriers to development.

Nasheed’s doubts over the unity of the current coalition appeared well-founded this week as the religious Adhaalath Party announced it would be openly competing with the Jumhooree Party (JP) in five parliamentary constituencies, while talks with the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) continue.

The PPM’s selection of candidates for the poll continued, after party members in Maavah constituency, Laamu Atoll, demonstrated against the apparent award of the ticket to the current member without a primary.

After assigning 13 of its 49 places on the ticket without contests, the PPM is holding primary polls for an additional 27 seats today (Saturday 8), with the method of allocation for the remaining 9 yet to be decided.

Progressive coalition partner the JP meanwhile concluded selections for its 28 allocated constituencies, which includes eight incumbent MPs and new member Abdulla Riyaz – former commissioner of police.

One person who is unlikely to be standing in the March 22 polls is Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party MP Dr Abdulla Mausoom. As Minivan News’ series of interviews with MPs continued, Mausoom described the occupation as no longer “savvy”.

Legal interpretations

The Majlis continued to hold special sessions this week to help the government raise revenue to meet its 2014 budget commitments, including the reintroduction of tourist bed tax and the raising of T-GST in November. Changes to current import duties were also passed.

Following the Criminal Court’s continued recalcitrance after the Majlis’s failure to approve a new prosecutor general, the Chief Justice this week suggested that parliament take some time during the current emergency sessions to resolve the issue.

PPM MP Ahmed Mahloof also suggested that he would submit a motion to the house, calling for a public referendum on the death penalty to be held alongside the parliamentary elections.

Asked about the practice of female circumcision this week, Figh Academy Dr Mohamed Iyaz Abdul Latheef endorsed the practice, citing several hadiths which he felt made clear the obligatory nature of this procedure.

Elsewhere, local heritage group REVIVE announced it would be considering legal action after a centuries old mosque in Malé was demolished to make way for a modern replacement.

Finally, as crime figures in the country revealed a huge spike in cases of theft and robbery, a local drug lord appeared to have evaded punishment, leaving for Sri Lanka part-way through an 18 year sentence.


Mass circumcisions for young Zimbabwean men

80% of young Zimbabwean men will be circumcised in a plan by Population Services International and the Zimbabwe government to cut the incidence of AIDS in the country.

The intention is to operate on 1.2 million men using a ‘conveyor belt’ system that performs 10 operations an hour.

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