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LGA suspends island councillors over MDP's 'unlawful' presidential primary

Fathmath Shaahunaz
22 June 2018, MVT 10:32
During MDP's presidential primary on May 30, 2018. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
22 June 2018, MVT 10:32

Local Government Authority (LGA) on Thursday suspended a number of island councillors, including the council president of Alif Alif Atoll's Ukulhas, over their roles in Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s presidential primary.

In a letter to the suspended council members, LGA accused them of actively participating in MDP's primary held May 30, despite a court order to stop the polling. The Civil Court had ordered authorities to take action against those that proceeded with the primary's proceedings, in violation of the court order.

Hence, LGA declared that it was putting the council members in question on no-pay suspension for three months. The authority forbade them from representing their councils in any form or manner during this period.

The suspension of Ukulhas Island Council's president comes amidst preparations to host MDP's congress in the island at the end of this month.

The Elections Commission had earlier warned MDP that its primary would be deemed unlawful and invalid, as former President Mohamed Nasheed was running to win the party's ticket for the Presidential Election slated for this September. The EC had declared that Nasheed's ongoing conviction to 13 years in jail under terrorism charges rendered him ineligible to run for president according to the Constitution, and warned MDP that action would be taken against the party if Nasheed ran in its primary.

MDP had snubbed the warnings and commenced polling on May 30. Upon the EC's request, the Civil Court had issued an order to stop the primary, ordering the police to intervene as well. Despite the police's attempts, MDP had continued with the voting until midnight that night, and announced Nasheed as the primary's winner and the party's sole candidate for the election this year.

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