The final hearing of the case to nullify the results of the presidential election filed by incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Supporters of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) were gathered by the Supreme Court in order to attend the hearing. A few days after the president conceded defeat to the opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih who won the election by a wide margin of 38,000 votes, he and his ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) accused the Elections Commission (EC) of accepting bribes and rigging the polling.
The president filed the case at the apex court, raising several issues regarding the election proceedings, including accusations that printing of ballot papers was awarded to M7 Print Pvt Ltd unlawfully without bid, the use of erasable pens and special rings that could allegedly place checkmarks on ballots at polling stations, and the abrupt shift of the National Complaints Bureau to another location, among other concerns.
EC's lawyer Hussain Shameem had responded to all the accusations in the first hearing held Sunday afternoon, and stated that the case was based on groundless doubts and suspicions without any evidence.
The president's legal team, comprising of former High Court judge Abbas Shareef and Mohamed Saleem (Reynis), also requested to submit secret evidence in the case. While the lawyers of the opposition coalition, which has been allowed to intervene in the case, voiced concern over the request, the Supreme Court stated that its full bench will debate and reach a decision regarding the witnesses. Their decision is expected to be announced during the hearing.
Galolhu South MP Ahmed Mahloof, who previously attended all two hearings on the case, was assaulted by supporters of PPM outside of Supreme Court after the MP had switched places with a man in the queue to attend the final hearing of the election case. PPM supporters had ripped the parliamentary members’ queue number and attempted to bar him from entering the hearing. MP Mahloof took to twitter to express dismay over the matter and stated that PPM supporters had repeated the actions by switching places with a fill-in who waited in the queue overnight. He added that although they can forcefully bar him from entering the hearing, they will not succeed in forcefully taking over the regime.
In addition to supporters of opposition coalition, supporters of PPM have also gathered by the top court for the hearing. However, only opposition coalition supporters had gathered by the court during Monday's hearing
During Monday's hearing, Chief Justice Dr Ahmed Abdulla Didi had stated that the judge bench will decide on allowing the use of secret evidence in the case and added that both parties will be given the chance to debate before the judges conclude on a decision. However, the Chief Justice is yet to schedule a verdict hearing for the case.
A total of 42 civilians, including media and senior officials of the government and opposition parties were allowed to enter the hearing.
The Edition understands that the final hearing of the case to nullify the presidential election results has begun. Mobile phones of civilians who are allowed to observe the hearing will be confiscated by the Supreme Court.
Two hours have passed since the final hearing of the case to annul the presidential election commenced. The hearing will decide whether the use of secret evidences will be allowed on behalf of President Yameen. A recces is generally within 2 to 3 hours from commencement of the hearing.
The judge bench declined the request by President Yameen’s lawyers to submit secret evidences and concluded the hearing.
Legal team of President Yameen, Elections Commission and opposition coalition parties intervening in the case took the last word at court.
Chief Justice stated that the request by President Yameen's lawyers was denied as the judge bench did not find sufficient reason to allow the use of secret evidence. The chief justice further added that a verdict hearing is to be scheduled soon if all is clear in the research process of the case. However, the date for the verdict hearing in yet to be disclosed.