PPM yet to submit elections forms, upset with electoral watchdog

PPM’s deputy leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla (R) and Secretary General Abdulla Khaleel speak to reporters. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

PPM’s deputy leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla (R) and Secretary General Abdulla Khaleel speak to reporters. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

The divided ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s faction loyal to its adviser and incumbent President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom voiced ire over recent decisions of the Elections Commission (EC) that obstruct PPM from submitting candidacy application forms for the upcoming Local Council Elections.

PPM had filed a case at the Civil Court, seeking to delay the Local Council Elections, originally scheduled to be held January 14 next year, by two months, saying that recent political disputes within the party had hindered PPM’s preparations for the elections on time. The Civil Court had ruled in favour of PPM and ordered the EC last Thursday to delay the elections, stating that proceeding such that PPM cannot take part would be a violation of democratic policies, damaging the common interests of the state.

However, the EC has stated several times that delaying the elections would a violation of the Constitution and subsequently appealed the Civil Court’s verdict at the High Court, seeking a reversal. The commission also closed candidacy applications for the elections after the deadline passed last Thursday, and has not yet decided on extending the elections period or reopening applications.

Closing of candidacy applications has barred PPM’s participation in the elections again as President Yameen’s faction admitted on Thursday that they have not been able to submit any of the 700 candidacy forms they received at the EC.

PPM’s deputy leader and Fonadhoo MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla explained that they were not able to submit candidacy application forms due to lack of sufficient information on the candidates. PPM had lost several documents and other official writings amidst the contentious handover of the party’s control from its leader, Former President Maumoon Adbul Gayoom, to his half-brother, President Yameen.

“We went to court because we couldn’t get our party’s documents and prepare for the elections,” he said, going on to say that with the court order to delay the elections, PPM is now working to recover the documents required for the EC and hold their primary.

PPM’s Secretary General and Nilandhoo MP Abdulla Khaleel added that the party is working to complete its registry again with information gathered from all around, but it is still incomplete.

The faction is irate with the EC’s decision to appeal the Civil Court’s order to delay the elections and close applications with no decision to open or make an extension.

Declaring that the EC is bound to obey the court order until and unless the High Court overthrows the Civil Court’s verdict, MP Abdul Raheem said that PPM should be allowed to submit their applications with the completed information.

“There is no meaning to delaying the elections if they don’t give the chance to submit the forms.”

Adding that PPM is keeping an eye on the EC’s actions, MP Abdul Raheem said that PPM has not reached a decision yet about going to court again to solve the issue.

EC announced earlier that it received over 900 forms by the applications’ deadline and that they are currently processing the forms. The commission is hoping for a reversal of the elections’ delay and proceed with the original date of January 14 next year.

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