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Opposition gears up to take campaign restrictions to court

Shahudha Mohamed
30 November 2020, MVT 10:12
People’s National Congress (PNC) President Abdul Raheem Abdulla speaks at opposition rally. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
30 November 2020, MVT 10:12

Leader of the opposition alliance Abdul Raheem Abdulla announced, on Sunday, that the opposition was lodging a case at court over the differentiation between parties of the ruling coalition and opposition coalition in receiving campaigning opportunities for the upcoming local council elections.

Speaking at a media briefing held by People’s National Congress (PNC) and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Abdul Raheem claimed that the protective measures set in place due to the ongoing pandemic was hindering the campaigns.

Adding that the travelling restrictions applied differently to different people, he noted that government officials were travelling to islands without undergoing quarantine, which was required of all other individuals.

Therefore, Abdul Raheem noted that work was underway by the party’s legal team to file a court case.

Although the heads of the opposition coalition were barred from travelling to islands due to the guidelines by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), Abdul Raheem requested party members to continue campaigns at islands without any interruptions.

The opposition alliance has repeatedly voiced concerns over the restrictions for PPM and PNC to conduct party activities, and lodged formal complaints at the Elections Commission earlier this month.

In a press conference held after submitting the issue to EC, PNC’s President Abdul Raheem Abdulla claimed that the travel restrictions set in place by HPA intended to derail the coalition’s efforts to prepare for the upcoming local council elections scheduled for March 2021.

Adding that the authorities were using COVID-19 as an “excuse”, Abdul Raheem also accused authorities of allowing travel for members of the ruling coalition after restricting travel for members of the opposition coalition.

He further went on to say that “the state’s actions make us feel like those traveling on state’s business are immune to COVID-19”.

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