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Maldives Reform Movement alleges obstruction by Elections Commission

Mohamed Rehan
23 July 2023, MVT 17:53
Former Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (R) with son Faris Maumoon, the current President of Maldives Reform Movement (MRM)--
Mohamed Rehan
23 July 2023, MVT 17:53

Former Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who leads the Maldives Reform Movement (MRM), has said that the Elections Commission (EC) is impeding their attempts to nominate a presidential candidate and conduct political activities.

Earlier, the Elections Commission (EC) announced its decision to dissolve the Maldives Reform Movement (MRM), stating that the party failed to meet the minimum required number of members. According to EC regulations, a political party must have a minimum of 3,000 members to be considered eligible.

However, the Elections Commission's (EC) efforts to dissolve the party were interrupted after the Maldives Reform Movement (MRM) successfully obtained an interim injunction from the Maldives Civil Court. Despite the commission's request for a revision of the court's decision, the outcome remained unfavorable to them.

Meanwhile, the Vice President of the party, Aminath Nadhira, has accused EC of persistently obstructing the party's progress. She said that the commission deliberately excluded MRM from meetings pertaining to the upcoming presidential election scheduled for September 9. Nadhira also alleged that EC repeatedly violated the Civil Court's ruling in its attempts to dissolve the party.

Nadhira added that the Elections Commission (EC) had declined to include MRM in the National Advisory Committee, which was established in preparation for the upcoming presidential elections.

"This is a clear violation of the court's ruling, raising questions about the feasibility of conducting an independent and transparent election in the first place," Nadhira said.

The party has refused to accept EC’s decision for its dissolution claiming the move was politically influenced and was in violation of the law. MRM further said that the obstacles created by the commission have significantly undermined its political activities.

MRM, a coalition member of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), received an invitation to renew its coalition ties in preparation for President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's re-election bid. Since then, the parties held two meetings to discuss the matter. However, the discussions hit a roadblock when the Elections Commission announced its decision to dissolve MRM.

MRM, emphasizing that a party's membership count should not dictate its contribution to national reform work.

Earlier, a social media campaign, backed by MRM supporters, was initiated, endorsing Faris Maumoon, the President of MRM and son of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, as the party's potential presidential candidate. Faris Maumoon has taken the decision to participate in this year's presidential election and has already commenced some administrative preparations.

A senior party official revealed that Faris Maumoon is actively preparing to run as an independent candidate in case the MRM encounters any legal obstacles during the election process.

MRM is the third party founded by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. In 2005, following the government's approval for the formation of political parties, Maumoon established the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP). However, due to significant conflicts with the DRP leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, Maumoom eventually formed the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).