EC dismissals: PPM urges appointment of new commissioners ahead of Majlis polls

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has proposed that a parliamentary meeting be held to appoint members to replace recently dismissed Elections Commission (EC) President Fuwad Thowfeek and Vice President Ahmed Fayaz.

The Supreme Court’s decision to remove the pair has been rejected by parliament’s independent institutions oversight committee which decided on Monday that the two members remained in their posts.

PPM Deputy Parliamentary Group Leader Moosa Zameer told local media that the party wished to abide by the constitutional provision that the EC should consist of five members.

Zameer further asserted that the party believes there is sufficient time to appoint persons to the remaining two seats ahead of the parliamentary election scheduled for March 22.

“We can hold the elections even with three members in the Elections Commission. However, the constitution says there must be five members in the commission and we want to hold the elections in accordance with the constitutional terms,” Zameer is quoted as saying.

“There is nothing stopping us from doing so, is there?”

However, Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid decided on Wednesday to not hold any further parliament meetings ahead of the upcoming election, claiming that he had discussed decision with leaders of the political parties.

Zameer nevertheless called on the oversight committee to review the names submitted by the President, and for the parliament to vote on the matter at the earliest opportunity.

“If the parliament cooperates, then this will not prove to be a difficult task,” Zameer stated.

PPM’s Zameer and MP Ahmed Nihan were not responding to calls at the time of press.

Meanwhile, President Abdulla Yameen on Wednesday nominated four persons to posts in the EC, submitting their names to parliament.

The names sent were Mohamed Zahid, Mohamed Shakeel, Ahmed Sulaiman, and Fathimath Muna.

While the parliament committee maintains that the posts held by Fuwad and Fayaz are not vacant, a replacement for the fifth commission seat has been unanimously approved by the parliament.

The position was previously filled by ‘Ogaru’ Mohamed Waheed who had resigned due to ill health during last year’s presidential election. The new appointee is president’s nominee Ismail Habeeb.