Some members of the parliament have appealed to revise the political parties’ law. The existing law bars candidates who lose primaries from contesting a seat from a different party or as an independent candidate.
Abdul Latheef, Jumhooree Party’s Member of Parliament representing Dhidhoo, proposed the reformation of the law, which was passed on 23 November 2016 that denied candidates from contesting if they had lost the primary elections. The former ruling party, People’s Progressive Party (PPM), initiated bringing changes to the law as the former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom ratified the law on 6 December 2016.
Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), however, opposed the reformation of the law that was put forward by the former PPM member Saud Hussein, who has recently joined JP.
Latheef stated that the reformation of the law was put forward because there was not a proper mechanism to verify the primary elections. In addition, he suggested that this can be revealed from how the previous primary elections across the political parties in Maldives were managed.
“This bill was proposed in order to guarantee the right for the citizens to contest for the Parliament and properly manage each party as it should be a constitutional right,” said Latheef. “The primary elections are not managed by the Election’s Commission; therefore we must grant the right for all those candidates a chance to contest.”
Furthermore, Latheef stated while the former President Yameen annulled various laws that protected the rights of the citizens, the Political Party’s Act has to protect the rights of the citizens of Maldives.
“We received overwhelming support from other members of the Parliament. From experience we can see that the results from the primary elections have not been properly managed. Citizens have voted in a cement mixer machine as questions were raised whether Elections Commission even monitored the voting process,” said Latheef.
MDP has been preparing for the primaries in the upcoming parliament elections while the reformation of the political party law has been proposed to the Parliament.