Jumhooree Party lawyer Dr Hassan Saeed claimed that the small number of cases given as evidence ought to be considered as an indication of substantive electoral irregularities. Shortly after today’s hearing, Progressive Party of Maldives running mate Dr Jameel Ahmed filed an additional case calling for a delay of the run-off.
Nasheed has called for a tourism strike should the September 28 run-off be delayed. The country’s resort industry association has meanwhile warned of “irreparable consequences” to the economy should the election not be expedited.
The UK, EU, UN, US, Commonwealth, India, Canada and Australia have expressed alarm over the Maldives’ sudden suspension of the second round of presidential elections, and urged for them to be held as scheduled on September 28.
“Despite the Maldivian Democratic Party’s legal team claiming that proceedings cannot be held without their representation, the court’s decision to proceed regardless is in breach of the constitution, laws, regulation and juridical norms adhered to in the Maldives thus far,” the MDP chairperson stated in a letter to the Chief Justice.
Two witnesses claimed they had knowledge of underage people voting in the poll. However, among the two witnesses who made the claim, one witness said that he had only heard about it, after rumours began circulating that such a thing happened.
The EC has said it will continue with preparations for the second round of presidential elections – scheduled for September 28 – and has stressed the supremacy of the constitution following conflicting orders by the Majlis and Supreme Court on a polling date.
Bangladesh has temporarily blocked migration of its nationals to the Maldives – an action described by one key local employer as a response to decades of failure by Maldivian authorities to deal with “human trafficking” and labour management .
The Elections Commission’s lawyer, former Attorney General Husnu Suood, was accused of contempt and removed from court along with the MDP’s legal team, including Hisaan Hussein and Hassan Latheef.
“It is deeply worrying to hear comments calling for the annulment of the election,” observed Commonwealth Special Envoy Sir Donald McKinnon, as the MDP returned to its first protest site at Raalhugandu.