Minister of State for Finance and Spokesperson for President Mohamed Waheed’s abolished Gaumee Iththihaadh Party (GIP), Abbas Adil Riza, has said that he does not accept that the party has been dissolved despite the Elections Commission saying otherwise.
During a press conference held at Nalahiyaa Hotel on Wednesday, Riza said the elections commission had not informed them of the party’s dissolution.
Following the ratification of Political Parties Act, only five political parties remain registered in the Maldives. Remaining parties include: opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and government-aligned parties Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), Jumhoree Party (JP) and Adhaalath Party (AP).
Vice President of Elections Commission (EC) Ahmed Fayaz told Minivan News on Tuesday that a total of 11 political parties had now been removed from its political party registry in accordance to the new Act.
President Waheed’s own party, GIP was among the 11 parties dissolved following the bill’s ratification, despite the president’s claims that it had reached 10,000 members.
EC Vice President Fayaz said that whilst GIP and the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) had both submitted enough forms to meet the 10,000 minimum, many of those forms were still pending and so could not be counted.
“There are two parties who have submitted close to, or over the 10,000 membership minimum, but just because the parties have 10,000 membership forms submitted, it does not mean they have 10,000 party members,” he said at the time.
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.
Meanwhile Abbas Adil Riza contended that a high priority was given by parliament members in drafting the Political Parties Bill which became law on Tuesday, claiming that the bill was fabricated to destroy the party. Riza also accused Parliament Speaker Abdulla Shahid of playing a pivotal role in making sure the bill got passed into law.
Last week, both parliament’s minority leader and majority leader unanimously supported to overrule the vetoed Political Parties bill without any amendments, forcing it through. Out of the 67 members present during the vote, 60 voted in favour of the passage of the bill while six voted against the bill and one MP abstained.
During the press conference, Riza also contended that Maldives’ political party system was “significantly in need of smaller political parties” and that all major political parties had “betrayed the nation” because it had the support base needed to do so.
He also contended that the party would file a petition in Supreme Court challenging the Political Parties Act and the Elections Commission in its decision to abolish the party.
President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad – who is also a member of GIP – echoed similar remarks earlier, claiming the government had decided to take measures to “rectify” the decision to dissolve all but five of the country’s political parties.
He argued that the dissolution of the parties is seen by the state as an infringement of people’s right to form political bodies which he maintained was a constitutional right.
Masood contended that Attorney General (AG) Azima Shukoor had on Tuesday afternoon sought to file motions with the country’s Supreme Court raising concerns with the decision to dissolve the parties following the ratification of the Act.
However, it remains unclear as to whether the Supreme Court has accepted the case or not.
Addressing the impact of President Waheed’s own party being dissolved, Masood said the decision would not be a problem for the functioning of the present government.