EC 'unaware' of Adhaalath's council polls boycott

Maldives' electoral watchdog Thursday insisted that the religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) had not officially informed of its decision to boycott the re-scheduled local council elections.

Adhaalath had decided to boycott the elections over grievances with the Elections Commission.

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.

Elections Commission member Ahmed Akram however said the commission was 'unaware' of Adhaalath's decision.

"But I hope all parties would participate in the elections," Akram said.

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

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.

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.

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

Shifaz had 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.