The three candidates in Maldives’ upcoming presidential race met with the Election Commission this morning to request the re-scheduling of the first round of the presidential election from November 9 to Saturday, November 2. However, the EC has said expediting the presidential polls is not possible as the commission lacks the facilities to do so.
“This is an attack on human rights defenders by the police, this is intimidation”, said HRCM member Jeehan Mahmoodh, revealing that police requests for “complete details” of all commission staff who witnessed the police’s role in blocking the October 19 election. The HRCM has accused the police of acting outside its mandate when obstructing the polls.
Minister of State Hugo Swire argued that the Maldives international standing may be at risk in spite of the efforts of the Elections Commission. Elsewhere in Westminster, MPs continue to call for a full debate on the current situation regarding the Maldives’ presidential elections.
Today’s sitting of parliament was held in response to a letter to Speaker Abdulla Shahid by President Dr Mohamed Waheed requesting parliament “to take initiative in finding a solution to any legal issues that will arise if a new president is not elected by the end of the current term [on November 11].”
Police have sent a summon chit to Raajje TV News Head Ibrahim Waheed ‘Asward’ and CEO Yamin Rasheed asking him to be present at the police station tonight at 8 pm. The investigation concerning a broadcast report into judicial independence was ordered by the Supreme Court despite such cases falling within the remit of the Maldives Broadcasting Commission.
Azim is being charged with assault of an MNDF officer. Speaker Abdulla Shahid has condemned the MNDF’s obstruction and removal of Azim from Majlis premises yesterday. The President’s Office says it is MNDF’s duty to prevent Azim from entering the Majlis.
Last week’s Global Gender Gap index reveals that, whilst women in the Maldives are close to parity in terms of health and education, large disparities remain between the sexes in the economic and political sectors.
The Maldives National Defense Forces have stormed the People’s Majlis and arrested Maldivian Democratic Party MP Ali Azim today after the Supreme Court stripped Azim and Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party MP Mohamed Nashiz of their parliamentary seats over decreed debt on Thursday.
The media council warned that police investigating a local news outlet for its content “would be an obstruction of the press freedom established in the Maldives as well as an act that would instil fear in the hearts of journalists.”