EC announces official results of Feydhoo, Velidhoo by-elections

The Elections Commission (EC) announced the official results of Saturday’s by-elections in Noonu Velidhoo and Addu Feydhoo yesterday.

The by-elections took place on September 20 for vacant seats in the Velidhoo island council and Addu City Council.

In the Feydhoo constituency of Addu City, opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate Ali Fahmy Ahmed defeated ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate Eana Naseer.

While Fahmy won 1,068 votes (55.14 percent), Eana received 869 votes (44.86 percent). With 3,782 eligible voters, the turnout was 1,965 (51.96 percent).

On the island of Velidhoo in Noonu atoll, government-aligned Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) candidate Ali Mujthaba beat MDP candidate Abdulla Ahmed Shafeeq with 647 votes (55.54 percent) to 518 votes (44.46 percent).

The victory secures a majority of the five-member Velidhoo island council for the PPM-MDA ruling coalition with three pro-government councillors and two MDP councillors.

The Velidhoo by-election was called after an MDP councillor resigned. Of 1,803 eligible voters, 1,189 people (65.95 percent) cast their ballots.

All six seats of the Addu City Council is meanwhile held by MDP councillors. The by-election was announced after former Feydhoo councillor, Abdulla Aswan, died of a heart attack on July 8.


Transparency Maldives concerned over “stagnation of democratic consolidation”

An assessment of the effectiveness of Maldivian institutions in preventing and fighting corruption points to a “stagnation in democratic consolidation and a reversal in democratic gains,” anti-corruption NGO Transparency Maldives (TM) has said.

Institutions of the National Integrity System (NIS) – consisting of the three branches of the state, public sector agencies, and non-government actors – were evaluated on their resources and independence, mechanisms to ensure transparency, accountability and integrity, and extent to which each institution fulfilled their assigned role in preventing corruption.

The Elections Commission (EC), the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Auditor General’s Office were ranked the strongest pillars, while political parties and civil society received the lowest scores.

“The findings show that most institutions do not fully adhere to the legal framework, meaning there is a gap between practices and mandates afforded by the law, and that oversight mechanisms are not working as intended,” TM’s Advocacy and Communications Manager Aiman Rasheed said.

Noting the erosion of the separation of powers and the judicial attempts to undermine the independence of the EC and the ACC, Aiman said he was concerned over the lack of public outcry in instances where the powers of key democratic institutions are undermined.

“What is most worrying is the culture of impunity in the Maldives. There is no outcry from civil society, meaning those who undermine democratic consolidation can get away with almost anything,” he said.

A strong and functioning NIS serves as a bulwark against corruption and as a guarantor of accountability, while a weak system harbors systemic corruption and produces a myriad of governance failures, the report said.


Although the 2008 constitution established a mechanism for separation of powers, the period between 2008 and 2013 saw the legislature and judiciary curbing the powers of the executive and independent institutions, the report noted.

It specifically cited an amendment to the Public Finance Act in 2010, which curtailed the powers of the executive with regard to public finance management and state assets. The revision allows an opposition-dominated parliament to prevent the exercise of governmental policy.

A Supreme Court in September 2012 also limited the ACC’s powers to halt projects or issue binding orders and injunctions, it noted.

‘The verdict has made the commission toothless. We believe the ACC must at the very least have the power to suspend actions perceived as corrupt,” Aiman said.

He also said the 16-point guideline imposed by the Supreme Court on the EC in October is a blow to the commission’s independence.

“There are questions on how much authority the commission has in making decisions on electoral processes and the conduct of elections. The events of the past cycle of elections had had a tremendous negative impact on the Election Commission’s independence,” he said.

Systemic failure

Political parties associated with powerful individuals dominate the People’s Majlis, and their self-serving political practices have constrained the legislature’s ability to function with independence, the report noted.

Although there are provisions to hold the executive in check through budget review, appointment of cabinet, and questioning ministers on policies, in practice, the extent to which the executive was held accountable depended on the level of support the president’s political party enjoyed in the Majlis.

Meanwhile, allegations of political influence within the judiciary, and concerns over the qualifications and suitability of serving judges have raised questions over the independence of the judiciary, the report said.

But key oversight institutions, such as civil society organisations and the media, lack adequate resources and the professionalism necessary to effectively influence government policy for the betterment of society, the report continued.

Systemic weakness in upholding democratic institutionalism was demonstrated by the controversial transfer of power in February 2012, the report said, arguing that former President Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation under questionable circumstances created doubts over the political system’s ability to guarantee democratic governance.

“Although the Constitution of 2008 created a democratic Constitutional Government, the traditionally transmitted undemocratic political practices are also embedded in the new politico-institutional framework, thus weakening the overall institutional framework, and leaving room for misgovernance and political malpractices,” a press statement accompanying the report said.


The report recommended the enforcement of a comprehensive code of conduct for MPs, political appointees, and judges, with penalties for non-compliance.

MPs and political appointees must declare their assets and business interests, and legislation that limits party cross-over in the Majlis must be established, it said.

The executive must be granted more independence in determining public spending, albeit with strong measures to ensure integrity and transparency in decision-making.

Qualification and experience requirements of judges stipulated in legislation need to be enforced and the Supreme Court must exercise greater judicial restraint in interpreting its powers, it said.

The report also called on greater powers to be granted the ACC, Police Integrity Commission, and said that financial and human resources must be provided for the efficient functioning of all political, economic and social institutions.

Read the report here


DhiFM Plus asked to publicly apologise for upside down pictures

The Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) has asked private media outlet DhiFM Plus to issue a public apology for broadcasting an upside down picture of former Elections Commissioner President Fuwad Thowfeek.

In a statement (Dhivehi) on MBC’s website, the commission has noted that the act was in violation of the broadcasting code of practice and that it had violated the honour of Thowfeek.

MBC said that the commission had previously advised the TV station that content containing upside down pictures of persons were in violation to the broadcasting code of practice but that the TV station had failed to correct it.

The TV station was asked to issue a statement of apology before 26 March and to display the statement from 8pm to 10pm.

On February 12, 2014, the MBC asked private TV station DhiTV and its sister company, the radio station DhiFM Plus, to stop using upside down images of Elections Commission (EC) President Fuwad Thowfeek.

In a statement issued on the MBC website at the time, the commission asked the TV channel and the radio station – a pioneer of ‘visual radio’ in the Maldives – not to broadcast such content until the commission had concluded its investigation into the case.

MBC had given similar advice to the two stations in November last year after they had shown upside down photos of three members of the EC – Thowfeek, Ahmed Fayaz, and Ali Mohamed Manik – with a caption alleging that they had committed electoral fraud in the annulled September 7 presidential election.

After questioning the Supreme Court’s actions following an investigation into the alleged fraud, both Fayaz and Thowfeek were dismissed from their positions by the court earlier this month.

Following the incident, MBC sent a circular to all broadcasters noting that complaints regarding the disrespectful use of photos had led to it taking action against media outlets for violating the broadcasting code.

CEO of DhiFM Masood Hilmy told newspaper Haveeru at the time that the photo of the EC president was displayed after the Supreme Court had sent summons to the EC, but it had been removed upon MBC’s request.

The broadcasting commission is a 7-member body entrusted with implementation of broadcasting policy, regulation of broadcasting industry, and the promotion of responsible broadcasting. It was formed in 2010 under the Broadcasting Act.


Vandals attack campaign offices of Majlis speaker

Speaker of the People’s Majlis and MP for Keyodhoo constituency Abdulla Shahid has today condemned an attack on his office, following the news that two campaign offices had been vandalised in the early hours of the morning.

“It was more than damage, it was an attempt to intimidate,” Shahid told Minivan News, declaring that he “would not back down” in the face of “intimidation”.

Police have confirmed that two attacks that took place in the early hours of this morning (March 13).

Speaking with Minivan News, Shahid confirmed that he was awoken at around 4am by supporters saying that there had “been some damage to the office”.

“It looked like it had been a big piece of rock damaging the class panel, and caused considerable damage,” explained Shahid.

A police statement reveals that as well as vandalism carried out at Shahid’s campaign hall, the campaign offices of Machchangoalhi Dhekunu constituency candidate Hassan Mamdhooh.

Shahid is campaigning for the 18th Majlis on a Maldivian Democratic Party ticket, while Mamdhooh is running as an independent.

The police said they are investigating the matter, but that no suspects have been arrested.

Shahid suggested that the perpetrators were intending to “intimidate the public. They want to send a message to the people that politics is violent, politics is not safe, a message to the public to lay off politics.”

Earlier this week, Shahid’s name appeared on a letter sent to the chief justice and attorney general, stating that the recent dismissal of the president and vice president of the Elections Commission (EC) was contrary to the constitutional procedures which reserved such powers for the Majlis.

The letter – also signed by Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim – was based on legal advice from the parliament’s consul general after an analysis of the Supreme Court’s verdict.

Currently, the vacant seats in the EC are being filled in an effort to keep the parliamentary elections timely. So far, parliament has approved Ismail Habeeb Abdul Raheem to replace former commission member Ibrahim ‘Ogaru’ Waheed.

When asked about the parliamentary elections, Shahid remarked: “I’m hoping against hope that it will happen,”  adding that any more delays in the elections “will destroy the democratic process of the country”.

He finished by stating that the political system will only work when there is a “peaceful environment” in which it can flourish.


Finance Ministry restrictions will not obstruct Majlis polls, says EC

The Elections Commission (EC) has said that recent financial restrictions in acquiring the election budget will not have any impact on the upcoming parliamentary elections.

In all elections following the cancelled first round of last year’s presidential elections, the Ministry of Finance and Treasury have not released in bulk the total budget required for each election.

The ministry has instead been required to pays bills and release funds for individual requests after having reviewed if the expenditure fits the criteria of the programme.

Following yesterday’s second EC advisory committee meeting in preparations for the March vote, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Spokesman Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said that the commission owed MVR12 million in pending bills after delays at the Finance Ministry.

A ministry official explained to Minivan News that, if the ministry is convinced the money is required for elections, there will not be any restrictions in releasing the funds. Though the decision was made at policy level, he acknowledged that  it might have been due to budget shortages.

EC President Fuwad Thowfeek has said that, even with these difficulties, the commission is able to mange the expenditures with cooperation from the ministry.

“We are managing. I can assure that these restrictions will not obstruct the election. It will be carried out as planned,” said Thowfeek.
Fuwad was also of the view that the restrictions could be the result of budget shortage.

“Now we are using the office budget mostly. But the Finance Ministry is releasing funds as we spend,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the parliament’s government accountability committee is planning to question the finance ministry regarding the issue. A committee member confirmed today that a request has been made.

The EC is currently on trial at the Supreme Court on contempt charges. After using newly introduced procedures to both initiate and oversee contempt of court charges against the EC, the court has subsequently deemed privileged Majlis testimony to be admissible in the case.

The EU, the Maldivian Democratic Party, and local civil society groups have all expressed concern over the case’s effect of the EC’s independence ahead of the March 22 Majlis elections.

The commission members have now been asked to attend the Supreme Court this Saturday (March 1) at 1:30pm to sign their statements.


Broadcasting commission asks DhiTV to stop using upside down photo of EC chief

The Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) has today asked private TV station DhiTV and its sister company, the radio station DhiFM Plus, to stop using upside down images of Elections Commission (EC) President Fuwad Thowfeek.

In a statement issued on the MBC website, the commission asked the TV channel and the radio station – a pioneer of ‘visual radio’ in the Maldives – not to broadcast that content until the commission had concluded its investigation into the case.

MBC said that a letter had been sent today by commission President Mohamed Shaheeb advising the two stations not to broadcast anything in a way that it might encourage unrest, and to keep in mind that the parliament elections are ahead.

The Supreme Court has today launched a surprise trial against Thowfeek and his EC colleagues, using ‘sumoto’ proceedings to both initiate and preside over contempt of court hearings.

The president of MBC also advised the two stations to be aware of the code of practice established under the Broadcasting Act’s article 37.

MBC gave similar advise to the two stations in November after they again showed photos of three members of the Elections Commission – Thowfeek, Ahmed Fayaz, and Ali Mohamed Manik – upside down with a caption alleging that they had committed electoral fraud in the annulled September 7 presidential election.

Following the incident, MBC sent a circular to all broadcasters noting that complaints regarding the disrespectful use of photos had let to it taking action against media outlets for violating the broadcasting code.

CEO of DhiFM Masood Hilmy told newspaper Haveeru that the photo of the EC president was displayed after the Supreme Court had sent summons to the EC, but it had been removed upon MBC’s request.

Last month, MBC ordered both the Maldivian Democratic Party-aligned Raajje TV and the Jumhooree Party-aligned VTV to issue apologies for the content broadcast during the prolonged presidential election period.

While Raajje TV was found to have aired content defamatory to the Supreme Court, VTV was asked to issue an apology for material defaming the MDP’s presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed, MP Rozaina Adam, and EC President Thowfeek.


Asian Centre for Human Rights calls for travel ban for those responsible for Maldives’ “judicial coup d’état”

The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) has recommended the international community impose travel and other restrictions against President Mohamed Waheed, Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz and Supreme Court Justices Ahmed Abdulla Didi, Abdulla Saeed, Adam Mohamed Abdulla and Ali Hameed Mohamed.

“The time has come to ensure that all those who subvert democracy and the rule of law are held accountable by denying visas as well as any association including employment opportunities by the United Nations and other inter‐governmental organisations,” stated the regional NGO, which has special consultative status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

In a damning 12-page report on the current situation, ACHR declared that the Supreme Court should not have entertained the Jumhooree Party’s (JP) “frivolous petition” to delay the run-off polls after the November 9 re-vote, as the party had placed third and was not even contesting the poll the following day.

“There is no guarantee that the second round of election will be held on 16 November 2013. There are legitimate apprehensions that the ongoing election processes will be subject to further litigation before the Supreme Court is compliant to Gayoom’s forces. There are also legitimate fears that the elections slated for 16 November 2013 will not be free and fair as the Maldivian Police and pro‐Gayoom forces will resort to violence,” the ACHR warned.

Noting that strong calls by the international community for free and fair elections had had “very little impact” and been rebuffed by President Waheed, “the time has come for the international community including the United Nations, European Union, the Commonwealth and India to take decisive action to restore democracy in the Maldives,” ACHR stated.

The organisation in its report recommended:

  • President Mohamed Waheed should not be recognised as President of Maldives beyond 11 November 2013 and engagements with all the diplomatic missions of Maldives be downgraded until a legitimate and democratically elected President takes over in Male through the run‐off election slated for 16 November 2013;
  • Ensure that no new agreement including for bilateral and/or multilateral aid is signed with the Government of Maldives until a legitimate and democratically elected President takes over in Male through the run‐off election slated for 16 November 2013;
  • Ensure a travel ban through denial of visas to Mohammed Waheed and four judges of the Supreme Court of Maldives namely Justices Ahmed Abdulla Didi, Abdulla Saeed, Adam Mohamed Abdulla and Ali Hameed Mohamed and the Maldives Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz by any member State of the United Nations;
  • Ensure boycott of Mohammed Waheed; four judges of the Supreme Court of Maldives namely Ahmed Abdulla Didi, Abdulla Saeed, Adam Mohamed Abdulla and Ali Hameed Mohamed; and the Maldives Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz including through denial of employment or any invitation to any programmes organized or hosted by the United Nations and other inter‐governmental organisations;
  • Ensure  that Maldives is  suspended as a member of the Commonwealth in  the  CHOGM  2013  being  held  on 15‐17  November  2013  if  elections are  not  held  as  scheduled  on  16 November 2013.

The organisation noted that the Maldives was today coincidentally due to be re-elected unopposed to the UN Human Rights Council, despite having no legitimately-elected government.

“The re-election of Maldives as a member of the UN Human Rights Council at the UN General Assembly today despite having no legitimate government in Male is a mockery and sends an absolutely wrong message about the UN Human Rights Council. The credibility of the United Nations can only be restored through suspension of the membership of Maldives from the UN Human Rights Council like Libya in 2011.” said Suhas Chakma, ACHR Director.

Earlier today the US government said it was “deeply concerned” by President Mohamed Waheed’s “unprecedented decision” to remain in power past the mandate of his presidency, which expired on November 10.

“This action has endangered the Maldivian people’s right to elect a leader of their choice,” stated the US Embassy in Colombo.

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird also slammed the Supreme Court’s “disappointing” decision to delay the run-off vote until after the expiry of the presidential term, which he said “undermines both the Maldives’ constitution and the people’s faith in elections.”

“The term of the current government has now expired without a newly elected government to replace it. This is the case despite two free and fair elections over the last two months,” Baird remarked.


MDP, PPM, JP host final campaign rallies amidst uncertainties of election day proceeding

Candidates contesting in the fresh round of presidential elections scheduled for October 19 held their final major rallies in capital city Male’ prior to election day, each expressing views about how Saturday’s voting may proceed.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which received the majority votes – 45.45% – in the now annulled September 7 first round held their rally at the open grounds near the tsunami monument, with several thousand supporters in attendance.

Candidate Mohamed Nasheed, his deputy Dr Mustafa Lutfi and the party’s Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik were among those who addressed the rally, with key politicians from the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) including its leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali also speaking.

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) held its meeting in Dharubaaruge’s Dhoshimeyna Hall with approximately 600 supporters in attendance. In addition to the party’s presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen, his half-brother – PPM leader and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, vice-presidential candidate Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, current Minister of Tourism Ahmed Adheeb, as well as several MPs were in attendance.

Jumhooree Coalition held their rally in their campaign headquarters, Kunooz, with a similar turn-to the PPM’s rally. Besides Jumhooree Party (JP) leader and candidate Gasim Ibrahim, political leaders from various coalition partners spoke at the rally. This includes former Interim Deputy Leader of PPM Umar Naseer and Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla.

“On Saturday, people will re-ascertain their right to vote”: MDP candidate Nasheed

MDP presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed told the thousands of supporters gathered to hear his address that Saturday’s vote, in addition to electing him president, will also be the day that the people re-ascertain their constitutional right to elect a government for themselves.

“Citizens of Maldives desire reform, they want a system which will establish better living standards for themselves. They want a democratic system, to establish a government of the people through a vote. The people’s nature is leaning towards an election, towards change and to maintain democratic norms in the country. MDP is a party centred on development, it is a party which moves swiftly forward,” he stated.

“Important days are coming up in the life of the Maldives, with day after tomorrow being one of the most crucial days. This coming Saturday is the day on which through sheer determination and will the Maldivian people will re-establish their right to vote despite attempts by those involved in the 30 year autocratic regime trying to strip the people of this very fundamental right. It is the day when we will, God willing, win this election in one single round,” Nasheed said.

“For ages, Maldives has had a culture where elections are tampered with. We are still hearing the people from the 30 year regime speak of this philosophy of election tampering from their various political podiums. They claim that it is in the interests of the country, and for religion and nation, that they have been tampering with citizens’ votes. However, today the most important basis of our Constitution is the right to have a fair democratic election. Although there is a small number of people still trying to mess with the votes cast, the people are no longer willing to allow them to do so,” he continued.

“For the better part of two years we have been hearing the chants ‘where is my vote?’ and ‘we want elections now’. It is deeply set in our hearts that the ‘baaghees’ [traitors] have stolen our votes, that ‘baaghees’ have been treacherous towards our votes. Our citizens are not ready to lose these votes,” he said.

“Saturday’s election is not just about electing Kenereege Mohamed Nasheed as president. It is the day citizens regain their right to vote”.

Nasheed further echoed the various pledges outlined in the party’s “Costed and Budgeted Manifesto: 2013 – 2018”.

“We will restore lost individual rights”: PPM candidate Yameen

Meanwhile, PPM candidate Abdulla Yameen reiterated the party’s stance of proceeding with an election if the Elections Commission (EC) abides by the Supreme Court’s 16-point guideline.

“Together, we have decided to vote in a system that protects fundamental rights, and ensures a free, sincere vote to elect who they choose to be president,” Yameen said.

Yameen said the party has still not received the finalized voter registry and noted that party members continued to file complaints over re-registration.

According to the Supreme Court, every candidate is required to approve the voter registry for the election to proceed.

At a press conference on Thursday evening, the PPM had said it required 72 hours to approve the voter registry. The EC has given political parties until 6 am on Friday to sign the registry.

Yameen pledged to “restore lost individual rights” and said a PPM government would end arrest of political rivals and judges. The PPM will increase revenue, ensure a balanced budget, increase old age pensions to MVR5000 per month, and ensure fishermen were given an allowance of MVR10,000 in low season, Yameen said.

“We will bring you development like you’ve never seen before. Development is certain with us,” he said.

Speaking of challenges the PPM had faced during the campaign, Yameen said the party had not had enough time to circulate the party’s manifesto.

PPM published its manifesto only four days before the annulled first round of presidential elections held on September 7.

“Main concern is the voters’ registry; if it’s satisfactory will proceed with elections”: JP candidate Gasim

The JP rally also consisted of nearly 600 supporters, with leadership figures from the coalition including former PPM interim deputy leader Umar Naseer, AP leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, AP deputy leader Dr. Mauroof Hassan, former Defence Minister Tholhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaan filling the front lines.

JP Candidate Gasim Ibrahim stated that among the 16 points provided by the SC, the key concern for the party was the one regarding the voters’ registry, adding that this is where problems had risen for him even in the first round of elections on September 7.

“We had to go to court after these problems arose because the EC refused to cooperate and address our concerns. I want to call upon the EC to refrain from doing so this time around. I’d like to request the EC to work closely with us citizens considering that this is to do with citizens’ vote. This approach will be what is in the best interests of this country,” Gasim said.

“If we do get to vote on Saturday, it must only be under an assurance from observers and other relevant administrative authorities that the election will proceed in a manner that we too can readily accept, otherwise we will end up with the same issues as the previous round.”

Gasim addressed the party’s monitors, advising them on key issues to ‘keep a keen eye on during voting hours’, saying “As there hasn’t been very many elections here, people are not well-trained on how it should go. We must be vigilant at all times and keep an eye out to see if any voter tries to keep his hand in his pocket nonchalantly and then pull out and try to drop in an extra ballot paper while casting the vote. We must keep watch and see if they try to mix up anything during the counting of votes. And we must get close enough to be able to see if, after counting, they are placing the correct number against our names. We know the EC has previously committed such acts, where they mix up runner-ups and those who come third”.

Gasim stated that the party will “accept elections readily if it is conducted in accordance with the guidelines issued by the SC” and that the party is ready to proceed with voting once they are “absolutely certain that the voter registry satisfactorily meets our standards”.

“I want to say that we need not reveal what we will do if we come third, as we will not end up in that slot again. We can make decisions about that once we reach that situation, as I am certain that the different parties in our coalition will have their own different views about this. There is no rush, it’s not like we are a soul caught in a life or death situation.”


HRCM has complete confidence in Elections Commission, says acting chair

Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) member Ahmed Tholal – currently acting chair or president – has told local media that the commission had complete confidence in the Elections Commission’s (EC’s) ability to conduct the upcoming presidential election freely, fairly and in a transparent manner.

The remarks come after the HRCM issued a press release on Thursday (October 10) stating that a letter has been sent to the EC concerning alleged “discrimination” in taking measures against political parties for illegal activities.

“As the Elections Commission is an independent state institution, [the HRCM] urged [the EC] to not discriminate among political parties and treat all parties equally when issuing warnings and taking measures concerning an illegal activity,” the press release stated.

While Tholal declined to comment about the HRCM’s letter, newspaper Haveeru reported that the letter was sent by commission member Ahmed Abdul Kareem without the knowledge of the other members.

HRCM regulations require that such decisions are made with the participation or vote of all members.

“We noted in our report after the election that it was conducted well. So we have that confidence this time as well. HRCM is ready to provide cooperation required by the Elections Commission at this stage,” Tholal was quoted as saying.

He added that the HRCM did not have any concerns or dissatisfaction with the EC.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday (October 11), EC Chair Fuwad Thowfeek said two members of the HRCM contacted him, apologised and explained that the press statement was issued by just one member without the knowledge of the rest.

“The two members have said they condemn the act as it was done without their knowledge,” Thowfeek said.

He added that HRCM Chair Mariyam Azra was currently out of the country as well.

“So we don’t find it easy to accept what just one member said because two members have informed me that it wasn’t a decision made by the Human Rights Commission,” Thowfeek said.

The two HRCM members told Thowfeek that they were “ashamed” because of the sole member’s personal antagonism.

Kareem has however denied the allegation that the letter was sent without the knowledge of the other members, claiming that the decision was made following consultation among the five members regarding a number of complaints against the EC.

While the letter was signed by Kareem alone, he claimed that the decision to send it was approved by a majority of the commission.