Adhaalath Party boycotts council polls

Religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) on Monday announced that the party would boycott the re-scheduled local council elections over grievances with the country's electoral watchdog.

The civil court had postponed the council polls originally slated for January 14 by two months.

Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) filed the case seeking to delay the upcoming council polls by two months citing that the ongoing rift within the party had impeded its preparations for the elections slated for January 14.

Elections commission had announced its decision to hold the court delayed local council elections on April 8.

Adhaalath which had previously intended to contest the polls through a coalition with main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) accused the elections commission of deliberately trying to sway the polls to favour a particular party.

The party in a statement said it refused to believe that the elections could be free and fair.

AP through its coalition with MDP had decided to contest for 147 seats to MDP's 506.

MDP meanwhile has decided to mount a legal a challenge to the decision by the country's electoral watchdog to annul all candidacies after announcing new dates for the delayed local council election.

The commission had also said the previous 900 candidatures have been annulled and everyone would now be required to re-submit their respective candidature.

Deputy MDP chairperson Ali Niyaz told reporters on Monday that the elections commission had no legal authority to call for fresh elections.

"The civil court had ordered the postponement of the elections. Not asked for a fresh election," Niyaz had insisted.

MDP lawyer Hisaan Hussain had said the commission's decision had violated the rights of all 900 candidates.

"The commission can re-open for more candidatures. There is absolutely no need to annul all the candidacies and make them re-submit their candidatures," Hisaan had said.