News

MDP won't boycott council polls

Main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Wednesday insisted that the party would contest the re-scheduled local council polls despite its coalition partner religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) decision to boycott the 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.

"This is an opportunity for the people to stand up against president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's government. We are not going to pass up that opportunity," Shifaz stressed.

Rumours were rife that MDP would follow suit, but the party's deputy leader Mohamed Shifaz told Avas that his party would not pass up the small window of opportunity an election provides for the people to stand up to the transgressions of the government.

"This is an opportunity for the people to stand up against president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's government. We are not going to pass up that opportunity," Shifaz stressed.

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

Shifaz said the party would now nominate its own candidates for the seats allocated to Adhaalath.

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.