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Three expelled MPs contest disqualification at top court

Farah Ahmed
04 December 2017, MVT 16:23
From Left: Machangoalhi-South MP Abdullah Sinan, Thinadhoo-South MP Abdullah Ahmed and Dhangethi MP Ilham Ahmed
Farah Ahmed
04 December 2017, MVT 16:23

Three lawmakers formerly of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), who were expelled from the parliament by the Elections Commission (EC), have appealed their disqualification at the Supreme Court.

The three MPs are Dhangethi MP Ilham Ahmed, Machangoalhi South MP Abdullah Sinan and Thinadhoo South MP Abdullah Ahmed.

An official from opposition Jumhoory Party revealed that the case was filed sometime on Sunday.

The Supreme Court in July issued a contentious ruling on floor-crossing, stating that any lawmaker that resigns or is expelled from the political party they were registered to at the time of election, or shifts to another party, will lose their seat in the parliament. The apex court later clarified its ruling and held that it cannot be applied retroactively.

While the court ruling explicitly stated that it cannot be applied retroactively, the three former ruling party MPs claimed that they had filed letters at the party’s administrative office, requesting to be removed from PPM before the court ruling.

However, shortly after the letters were filed, PPM’s disciplinary committee began investigating the three MPs and subsequently informed the EC to remove them from the party’s registry.

Following EC’s removal of the three MPs from PPM, they were also informed of their disqualification from the parliament.

Late in November, EC had removed Ihavandhoo MP Mohamed Abdulla and Hanimaadhoo MP Hussain Shahudy from the parliament after PPM informed the EC that the two have been expelled from the party.

Following the apex court ruling on anti-defection, the commission has already declared several lawmakers formerly of PPM disqualified from the parliament. The unseated parliamentarians are Thulusdhoo MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim, Villingili MP Saud Hussain, Maduvvari MP Mohamed Ameeth and Dhidhdhoo MP Abdul Latheef Mohamed, Machangolhi South MP Abdulla Sinan, Dhangethi MP Ilham Ahmed, Thinadhoo South MP Abdulla Ahmed, Thimarafushi MP Mohamed Musthafa, and Fuvahmulah North MP Ali Shah. The members in question had resigned from PPM prior to Supreme Court’s anti-defection ruling, but PPM had later declared that it was probing disciplinary issues of the MPs before pronouncing them as axed from the party.

The Political Parties Act states that no member can be retained in a party by coercion. Thus, the lawmakers in question would have no longer been PPM members once they submitted their resignations.

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