The ruling coalition partner, the Maldives Reform Movement (MRM), has expressed grave concerns regarding the integrity of the upcoming presidential election due to recent actions taken by the Election Commission (EC).
The EC recently made the decision to dissolve MRM as the party had failed to maintain the minimum membership requirement as per the Political Party Act. The MRM challenged the decision in the Civil Court, and the court granted a stay order on the implementation of EC's decision. Despite the EC requesting the court to review its decision, the court last week ruled that there were no grounds for reconsideration. The party has also filed a judicial review case in court on June 22.
In a statement issued to inform its members clarifying that there were no obstructions to the party's political activities at this time due to the stay order, the MRM strongly criticized the EC. The party said it had lost its hope and trust in the EC's ability to conduct a free and fair election due to its recent actions.
MRM said the EC's actions were in contradiction to the Constitution and the spirit of the Political Parties Act, which has caused the public to lose confidence in the commission's ability to conduct a fair and impartial presidential election in September. The EC's move to dissolve the party was a questionable and unlawful move motivated by political gain, according to MRM.
"The decision has caused immense damage to the party, leading some to believe that MRM is no longer a political party in existence. This perception has caused several party members to sign up for other parties, and the party's preparations for the 2023 presidential election have been hampered," the statement said.
Despite all such challenges, the party will continue to work for reform as a responsible political party, the party assured.
MRM further said there is now room for many to believe that the EC’s work has been influenced by politics. The EC is no longer able to work in accordance with the laws and regulations and their own rules in managing the affairs of the parties, it said. Even in important matters such as the preparation of voter lists, there are serious problems that raise questions about EC's competence, said MRM, adding that the commission should work diligently to regain the trust of the people.
"Therefore, we call on the President of the Election Commission to explain to the people the challenges encountered in conducting the commission's work fairly. We also assure the public of this party's full cooperation in resolving these issues," concluded the statement.