The Elections Commission (EC) is to decide on how it is to proceed following Supreme Court’s temporary injunction on the dissolution of political parties.
The court issued the temporary stay order on Thursday (March 14) after Attorney General (AG) Azima Shukoor filed a case claiming that sections of the recently ratified Political Parties Act were in contradiction to the constitution.
Local media reported that Supreme Court had asked all authorities not to consider any party as dissolved until the case is decided.
President of the EC, Fuad Thaufeeq revealed that the commission would make a decision regarding what action would be taken in response to the Supreme Court’s order.
“The commission will sit tomorrow (March 17) to discuss and decide on how we shall proceed. We have to respect and obey court orders,” Fuad told Minivan News via SMS.
The Political Parties Bill – ratified by President Mohamed Waheed on Tuesday (March 12) – states that parties must now meet a minimum of 10,000 members before they can be recognised as such.
Following the bill’s approval by President Waheed, a total of 11 parties were removed of the EC’s political party registry, leaving five to compete in upcoming presidential elections later this year.
When asked whether the EC would now reinstate the parties removed off its registry prior the Supreme Court’s final decision on the case, Fuad stated: “We will follow the court’s orders.”
Out of the 16 parties that had previously existed prior to the ratification of the bill, only the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), Jumhoree Party (JP) and Adhaalath Party (AP) remain registered in the Maldives.
EC Vice President Ahmed Fayaz previously told Minivan News that the EC had removed parties that did not meet the required membership amount in “accordance to the law”.
“We followed procedure in accordance to the [Political Parties] bill. Within that bill there is a clause that clearly states, that when a party that has less than 10,000 members it is to become null and void,” he said.
It had been previously reported that upon ratification of the bill, political parties with fewer than 10,000 members would have three months to reach the required amount or face dissolution.
When asked about the clause, Fayaz stated it only applied to registered parties in accordance to the bill, and that therefore if a party does not meet the 10,000 limit it cannot be classed as such and is therefore exempt from the three-month clause.
Attorney General (AG) Azima Shukoor, Director Department of Judicial Administration Ahmed Maajid and Vice President of Elections Commission (EC) Ahmed Fayaz were not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.