December 21, 2016
London 20 December 2016 – The Maldives United Opposition (MUO) condemns in the strongest terms the government’s concerted coercion of pro-government members in the Elections Commission and partisan elements in the judiciary, fostering unlawful collusion among key state institutions to garner undue favor by continuing to deny the Maldivian people constitutionally stipulated local council elections by specified dates.
Maldives Local Council Elections, scheduled for January 2017, were postponed by two months at the government’s request, through a Civil Court order on 30 November, stating that the verdict was based on the “principle of necessity”, considering the ruling party’s inability to prepare for polls in the wake of an ongoing leadership dispute of their own making.
Following the Civil Court ruling delaying Local Council Elections, the Elections Commission had been misleading the public by making it seem the ruling had been appealed at the High Court, falsely projecting that opposition parties favored the delay. It has now transpired that the ruling had actually not been appealed, leading on to further uncertainty, while unlawfully facilitating more time for President Yaameen Abdul Gayoom to resolve his inability to field candidates amidst the ongoing leadership dispute within his party.
The Maldives United Opposition recognizes the undeniable reality that former President Uz. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is the founder and the Leader of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).
In November 2016, all opposition parties including the Office of the Leader of the PPM have jointly condemned concerted efforts by the regime of President Yaameen Abdul Gayoom to weaken and dismantle the multi-party political system, through unlawful and coerced Court rulings for him to take over the PPM, as the former President was alleged to be ineffective and deemed irrelevant by the faction supporting President Yaameen.
President Yaameen Abdul Gayoom had “colonized” independent institutions, including the Elections Commission by filling out important posts with crony infiltrators from the People’s Alliance (PA), presently a defunct political party formed by President Yaameen in 2008.
The Elections Commission withheld (for ten months of the year) constitutionally stipulated public funding for political parties. In a subsequent action, the government made obvious its devious plan to expropriate funds for rival parties by getting the Elections Commission to expunge thousands of members (some since inception in 2005) from a number of opposition parties, on the ruse that they had not appended their finger-prints on membership forms.
The unlawful collusion between the Elections Commission and partisan elements of the judiciary have led to blatant denials of the fundamental rights of all other opposition political parties who have diligently campaigned, held primaries and nominated candidates for the local council elections. The MUO condemns the government’s unlawful actions in the strongest terms, for reneging the people’s right to free and fair elections, citing the singular reason of the inability for President Yaameen Abdul Gayoom’s faction to prepare for the polls and nominate candidates.
The Maldives United opposition appeals to all concerned authorities, institutions and international well-wishers to prevail over President Yaameen Abdul Gayoom to establish a firm date and facilitate local council elections without further delays and to stop the concerted coercion of fostering unlawful collusion of independent state institutions to garner undue favor.