Maldives United Opposition calls for the immediate release of MUO Shadow Minister Mr. Ali Niyaz and calls on government to stop disrupting political activity in the run up to Local Council Elections

London, 09 December 2016 – The Maldives United Opposition (MUO) calls for the immediate release of the MUO’s Shadow Minister for Reform of Elections Commission & Independent Institutions Mr. Ali Niyaz, who is also the Maldivian Democratic Party’s Deputy Chairperson and condemns the Maldives Police requesting and obtaining a coerced 07 day remand under house arrest against him. The Maldives United Opposition (MUO) also calls on the government of President Yaameen Abdul Gayoom to cease disrupting peaceful political activity in the run up to imminent local council elections. 

Police, after disrupting a peaceful political rally held today arrested Mr. Ali Niyaz at the gathering. The rally was held to call upon government not to stall and to stop further meddling in arrangements for upcoming local council elections.

Maldives Local Council elections, scheduled for January 2017, were postponed by two months after a Civil Court order on 30 November stating the verdict as 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.

Today’s rally was held to protest the court ruling and other interferences by the apparatus of state in the electoral process. Mr.Ali Niyaz’s arrest is seen as a ploy to further delay local council elections. His arrest is also seen as a deliberate unlawful action to hinder the administration of the Maldivian Democratic Party in the run up to local council elections, as Mr. Ali Niyaz is also the MDP’s representative at the Elections Commission’s Advisory Committee for the local council elections.

The MUO urges all concerned authorities in Maldives, friendly countries and international bodies to prevail over the Maldives government to immediately release the MUO’s shadow minister for electoral reform and to meaningfully engage with all stakeholders within the state to facilitate and garner public credibility for upcoming local council elections to be free and fair.