Police announce manhunt for two disqualified MPs

Police on Wednesday announced a manhunt for two top government lawmakers who were disqualified by the country's electoral watchdog following the Supreme Court's anti-defection ruling last year.

Police are seeking South-Machchangoalhi MP Abdulla Sinan and Dhangethi MP Ahmed Ilham in connection to the ongoing case into allegations of bribing lawmakers involving deposed ruling party leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's son MP Faris Maumoon.

Police have asked the duo who have been living in exile after backing an opposition led move to unseat the parliament speaker to come in for questioning within 14 days.

The embattled government in a bid to counter an internal revolt after as many as a dozen lawmakers backed an opposition led move to unseat the parliament speaker Abdulla Maseeh in June last year.

Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) had engineered the constitutional dispute case asking the Supreme Court to disqualify MPs who defect or violate party whip-lines and or are formally removed from their respective party.

The three judge bench hearing the case unanimously ruled in favour of the government. The court had also ordered relevant institutions to bring into effect an anti-defection law.

The country's top court has refused to hear the several challenges filed by the rebel lawmakers while the elections commission has so far failed to hold by-elections for the vacated seats despite announcing the elections last year.