Maldives pres appoints loyalist to electoral watchdog

Incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Tuesday appointed one of his loyalists to the country's electoral watchdog months before the scheduled presidential elections.

Hours after the government controlled parliament rubber-stamped approval of Ahmed Shareef Adam, chief of the government owned utility company Fenaka corporation, president Yameen had sworn him in to the elections commission.

Shareef who has publicly supported president Yameen's re-election campaign is expected to be voted in as the chief of the electoral watchdog.

The parliament with only the ruling coalition lawmakers in attendance had approved Shareef after the opposition lawmakers continued the boycott on parliament sittings.

Shareef replaces the former elections chief Ahmed Sulaiman who had resigned but has now been appointed the national integrity commission.

The controversial new elections commission member would cast further doubts on the possibility of a free and fair presidential elections expected later this year.