Former SAARC Secretary General calls for new law to dissolve political parties

Former SAARC Secretary General Dhiyana Saeed – also a former Attorney General – has called on parliament to enact a law to dissolve political parties.

Her comments have been widely reported in local media and were reiterated in a statement from the Jumhoree Party (JP), of which she is a member.

According to International Convent on Civil and Political Rights, there was opportunity to narrow the role of political parties, Saeed reportedly stated, during a recent address on Gaafaru island accompanying President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan.

Saeed claimed the Council of Europe had guidelines on the prohibition and dissolution of political parties, and that there were situations in which a political party could be dissolved.

Parliament currently does not have the authority to dissolve a political party, the JP noted. However Saeed suggested that the  law should be drafted in such a way that a court of law, preferably the Supreme Court, could declare that the party was in situation where it has to be dissolved.

Speaking to Minivan News, Saeed said that the new law needed to specify in which situations a political party could be dissolved, suggesting that using violence and unrest as a method to achieve the goal of the party was one such reason.

”I can allege that MDP is using violence and unrest as a method to achieve their goals, the events of arson and vandalism and the attack on police officers are more like organised crimes,” she claimed. ”If anyone looks at the video footage they can see who did it and which color bands they were wearing on their head.”

She said if such a law was enacted, MDP could take the current government to court and that if they could prove that the government changed following a police and military coup, then the MDP could ask the court to dissolve the party in government.

Her comments come following criticism aimed by the government at the behavior of the ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which it has accused of violent protests and in several instances, terrorism.

The MDP last week condemned acts of violence against police, “recognising that there is a high level of public animosity towards police officers with regards to their involvement in the February 7 coup, overthrowing the first democratically elected Government in the Maldives, and their subsequent brutal crackdown on unarmed civilians. However, MDP strongly urges all members of the public to express themselves through peaceful protest.”

Saeed did not refer to the MDP specifically, but did claim to Haveeru that MDP members had broken into her house one evening and tried to attack her, before fleeing when they saw the police.

Saeed was formerly an MDP member but she resigned following comments in protest over former President Mohamed Nasheed’s detention of Chief Judge of the Criminal Court, Abdulla Mohamed, the culmination of a long-running judicial crisis.

The government’s rejection of court orders to release the judge could “only be solved by the people”, said Saeed at the time on VTV, a channel owned by JP MP and leader Gasim Ibrahim, but added this should be through the parliament “and not by coming out on the roads”.

Nasheed’s government expressed outrage over Saeed’s television appearance, arguing that her position as SAARC Secretary General demanded her political impartiality in the internal affairs of all SAARC nations – including her own.

Saeed subsequently resigned from the prestigious SAARC post – becoming not only the first female and youngest person to head SAARC, but also holding the shortest term.

“I am first and foremost a Maldivian citizen. It is my right [to comment] on whatever happens in my country, and I will not give away that right. As a lawyer I am also a member of the Maldivian bar,” she told Minivan News at the time.

“[The Chief Judge’s detention] is a violation of individual human rights, a violation of the independence of the judiciary, and the violation of the constitution,” she stated.