A member of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Rahma Moosa, has today lodged a case at the Civil Court challenging the results of the party’s presidential primary.
The Civil Court has confirmed that the case was filed today, adding it was uncertain when a first hearing would be scheduled.
According to local media, Moosa filed a case claiming that 8,915 people who were not officially registered as members of PPM had been allowed to vote in the primary.
She contended that the move contravened the Political Party Act and compromised the rights of all general members of the party.
The primary, held late last month, saw MP Abdulla Yameen selected at the PPM’s candidate to stand in the presidential election scheduled for September 7 this year.
Yameen defeated rival Umar Naseer with a 63 percent of the vote.
According to Moosa, while the Elections Commission (EC) website stated that the PPM had a total of 22,383 members as of March 10, the voter registry published by the party had 31,298 persons listed.
She claimed that members of parties other than PPM had also been included in the voter list, according to local media.
The PPM has previously said that although the additional persons had not been registered at the Elections Commission by March 10, they were allowed to vote as they had submitted membership forms to the party.
However, according to the Elections Commission website, in addition to the PPM’s 22,383 registered members, the party had submitted only an additional 1671 membership forms to the commission. These forms are currently awaiting verification. This leaves the membership still 7244 shy of the number of voters registered in the party’s primaries.
Elections Commission Vice President Ahmed Fayaz said that the commission has temporarily halted processing political party membership forms.
“We are very hectically working on drafting and finalizing the regulations which must be made following the ratification of the Political Parties Act, as it does not even have any clauses to give us an interim period. Hence, we have temporarily stopped processing the verification of membership forms submitted by any political party, unless in special circumstances. By this, I mean a case like, say, in the instance where some persons need to be registered due to party primaries,” Fayaz said.
Moosa has meanwhile told local media that the case was submitted on the request of a large number of party members, who she said believed that the primary was not conducted in a free and fair manner.
In the first public appearance after Abdulla Yameen winning the primaries, PPM Leader and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom referred to the recently concluded vote as “the most responsible, free and fair, transparent primaries ever held by a political party in the country to date.”
Umar Naseer however accused Yameen of “rigging” the election, alleging undue influence on voters, vote buying, intimidation of his supporters and denying a number of his supporters the right to vote by omitting their names from the voter list.
PPM has since given Umar Naseer a period of seven days in which he is expected to ‘reform and realign with the party’s charter or regulations’ or face expulsion from the party.
Rahma Moosa is reported in local media as being a PPM member who had supported Umar Naseer in the party’s primaries.
PPM Spokesperson Ahmed Mahloof’s phone was switched off, while the party’s presidential candidate Abdulla Yamin was not responding to calls at the time of press.
Umar Naseer’s secretary stated that, as a rule, he will not conduct interviews with Minivan News.
She said that no particular reasons were stated, and that those were the orders she had been given.