Maldives opposition on Tuesday sought intervention into the constitutional dispute case filed at the country's top court by the Attorney General (AG) challenging the reinstatement of a dozen lawmakers.
The island nation has been embroiled in fresh political turmoil after the Supreme Court on February 1 ordered the immediate release of jailed political leaders including self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed.
The Supreme Court’s decision had also overturned its previous ruling to provide a ‘temporary solution’ to the issue of floor-crossing and changing party membership of Parliamentarians until the Parliament enacts a law for the purpose.
President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on February 5 had declared a 15 day state of emergency after his last ditch attempt to convince the top court to revoke the order failed, purged the Supreme Court by arresting two judges and the remaining political leaders and ultimately had the order revoked.
As the state of emergency expired on Tuesday, president Yameen had got the parliament contentiously extend it by another 30 days.
Less than a day after the arrest of the two judges, the remaining three judges rescinded its ruling to release the political leaders referring to the concerns raised by president Yameen in the letters he had sent to the chief justice hours before state of emergency was declared.
The top court however, had not rescinded the part of the order which quashed its anti-defection ruling ordering the country's electoral watchdog to re-instate the dozen government lawmakers disqualified over the ruling.
However, the Supreme Court on Sunday revealed that the country's Attorney General has now made a case seeking to annul the remaining part of the February 1 order which had been signed by the full top court bench.
The remaining three judge bench has asked the parliament to hold off on reinstating the dozen lawmakers until it decides on the case.
The first hearing of the constitutional dispute had been scheduled for Monday, but was cancelled due to a request by the AG.
All three opposition parties have now asked the Supreme Court to grant them the right to intervene in the case. However, the apex court is yet to grant the request.
President Yameen meanwhile is facing mounting international pressure after exploiting the rights suspended under emergency state to crackdown hard on the opposition as police have made a series of high profile arrests including former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, three lawmakers, chief justice Abdulla Saeed, top court judge Ali Hameed and the chief judicial administrator.
The accusations against Gayoom included bribing lawmakers and judges to influence their authority while the deposed ruling party leader has also been accused of creating discord within the security forces to back the overthrow of his half-brother's government.
The two top court judges are accused of accepting bribes to influence Supreme Court rulings, abuse of power and blocking the functioning of the entire justice system.
In addition to Nasheed, the other top political leaders named in the now rescinded order included Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim, religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla, former defence minister Mohamed Nazim, former vice president Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor and Gayoom's lawmaker son Faris Maumoon.
Former prosecutor general Muhthaz Muhsin, magistrate Ahmed Nihan and Adheeb's uncle Hamid Ismail make up the rest of the list.