Election Commissions (EC) has declared that political party charters which overrule the Constitution must be amended by the respective parties.
In a letter sent to all political parties signed by the electoral watchdog chief Ahmed Shareef, the commission stated that certain party charters are seen contradictory to the Constitution and warned the parties that all charters must be in compliance with the Constitution. The letter further requested parties to submit their charters post amendment, noting that any contradictory terms of the party charters will be nullified.
EC member Ahmed Akram said that the commission had earlier received amended charters after requesting the political parties to make amendments according to the Constitution.
According to the party charters, amendments can only be made to the charter during national congress of the respective party.
EC has made the statement amidst primary presidential elections, following main opposition Maldives Democratic Party's (MDP) single candidate for the election. Former president Mohamed Nasheed, who is currently sentenced to 13-years in jail under terrorism charges over the arbitrary detention of a judge during his regime, was announced as the only candidate by MDP for their primary election.
While MDP's electoral committee has deemed his application legitimate, the Elections Commission maintains he is ineligible to run for presidency according to Subject 109 of the Constitution, which reads that a person elected as president should "not have been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to a term of more than twelve months, unless a period of three years has elapsed since his release, or pardon for the offence for which he was sentenced".
The commission further noted that the third amendment made to the Political Parties Act in 2013 prohibits all individuals convicted of criminal offences from contesting in parties' primaries. The EC warned that such candidacies would be deemed null and void.
It also stated that political parties are mandated to ensure that their presidential candidates meet all the prerequisites defined under Subject 109 of the Constitution.