Maldives electoral watchdog unseats another lawmaker

Thinadhoo South MP Abdulla Ahmed speaks at press conference. FILE PHOTO/MIHAARU

Thinadhoo South MP Abdulla Ahmed speaks at press conference. FILE PHOTO/MIHAARU

The Elections Commission on Tuesday informed the parliament that another lawmaker, Abdulla Ahmed who represents the constituency of Thinadhoo South, has also been disqualified.

EC member Ahmed Akram stated that MP Abdulla Ahmed was unseated as he has been removed from the register of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

The lawmaker had won his seat at parliament on the ticket of now-opposition Jumhoory Party, which he had left. He also later resigned from PPM after registering at the ruling party.

MP Abdulla is the seventh lawmaker the EC has deemed as disqualified over floor-crossing. The commission had already unseated six lawmakers that defected from PPM – Villingili MP Saud Hussain, Dhidhoo MP Abdul Latheef Mohamed, Madduvvari MP Mohamed Ameeth, Thulusdhoo MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim, Dhangethi MP Ilham Ahmed and Machangolhi South MP Abdulla Shinan – following a Supreme Court ruling in July which stated that any parliamentarian that resigns or is expelled from the political party they were registered to at the time of election, or shifts to another party, will lose their seat in the parliament. The apex court had clarified its ruling just two days later and held that the ruling could not be applied retroactively.

The Elections Commission has also announced to hold by-elections for the six constituencies.

Our of the disqualified lawmakers, Villingili MP Saud Hussain, Dhidhoo MP Abdul Latheef Mohamed, Madduvvari MP Mohamed Ameeth and Thulusdhoo MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim had filed at the Supreme Court contesting the EC’s decision and seeking a reversal.

The top court released an ambiguous verdict in late August, stating that here is “nothing more to decide” regarding the four parliamentarians who were contesting their disqualification as the court had already stipulated the ways in which a lawmaker would be unseated, and that it is also clearly stated in the Maldivian constitution.

The court had not explicitly stated that the members had been disqualified, which thus led to the government declaring that the lawmakers have lost their seats while the joint opposition maintains that the MPs have not been disqualified.

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