Govt seeks to deprive military of voting rights over “lack of support”

President Yameen (C) and Defence Minister Shareef (L) with the leadership of MNDF. PHOTO:President Office

President Yameen (C) and Defence Minister Shareef (L) with the leadership of MNDF. PHOTO:President Office

Lawmaker of Jumhoory Party and former Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz on Wednesday alleged that the state is looking to amend the Armed Forces Act such that military officers will be deprived of their voting rights in elections because they no longer support incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

In a tweet, Riyaz described the action as an act of autocracy, saying that military officers cannot be deprived of a right that is ensured by the Constitution.

Minister of Defence Adam Shareef made the announcement that he would look to amend the Armed Forces Act during the inauguration ceremony of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF)’s 12th Drill Competition late Tuesday.

During the ceremony, Defence Minister Shareef had declared that he would seek to abolish Subject 20 of the Act, which reads “The right to vote accorded to every citizen of the Republic of Maldives by the constitution shall be a right of every serviceman of the Armed forces.”

The right to vote is accorded to every Maldivian citizen over the age of 18 under Subject 26 of the Constitution.

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