The Edition


Opposition leaders call on top court to expedite expelled MPs' case

Farah Ahmed
17 January 2018, MVT 16:38
Former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (L)  and Mohamed Nasheed. PHOTO/VNEWS
Farah Ahmed
17 January 2018, MVT 16:38

Former presidents Maumoon Adul Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed, along with the two other opposition leaders, have submitted a letter to the Supreme Court regarding its delay in responding to the claim filed by the expelled parliamentarians, just days after the two leaders took their grievances to social media.

Maumoon had addressed the issue on Twitter on Tuesday, while Nasheed echoed his predecessor’s concern on Wednesday. The letter was also submitted on Wednesday.

Three lawmakers formerly of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), who were expelled from the parliament, had contested their disqualification at the apex court early last December. The court has not responded to the claim since it was filed.

“Our MPs have every right to demand a clear and unambiguous word from Maldives Supreme Court on the status of their membership. Supreme Court cannot keep silent any more on this landmark issue,” Maumoon had said.

Nasheed had said that the Supreme Court has an obligation to clarify its verdict since it is a matter of public interest and that the court is being lax in not clarifying the matter further.

Meanwhile, the letter that was signed by the two former presidents, Jumhoory Party's leader Qasim Ibrahim and Adhaalath Party's leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla asked the court to expedite the case and clarify the matter as soon as possible.

The Elections Commission (EC) had declared that a total of 12 MPs have lost their seats in the parliament after the Supreme Court issued a contentious ruling on floor-crossing last year July. It had stated that any lawmaker that resigns or is expelled from a political party they were registered to at the time of election, or shifts to another party, will lose their seat in the parliament. The court later clarified its ruling and held that it cannot be applied retroactively.

The MPs who appealed their disqualification have been going to the court regularly since Sunday to meet with the top court’s judges regarding their appeal; however, they have not succeeded in securing a meeting with the judges yet.

They have continued to express their grievance on the vagueness of their situation and the delay in holding the election. They claim that the right of some 60,000 citizens are being denied every day that those constituencies are not represented in the parliament.

Despite the parliament approving finances to hold parliamentary by-elections in the supplementary budget that was approved last year, the EC has not announced a date for the election yet.