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AG seeks court order to block MDP primary

Attorney General (AG) has requested from Maldives Civil Court to issue cease order on the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) primary elections slated for Wednesday.

The AG's decision comes shortly after the Elections Commission (EC) has requested from both Home Ministry and Maldives Police Service to stop the prime opposition party's primary.

Maldives' electoral watchdog has asked police to stop MDP from holding its presidential primary scheduled to begin later Wednesday in a bid to stop self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed from contesting.

Elections Commission had barred Nasheed from contesting in the primary pointing out that his terrorism conviction prevents him from meeting the required qualifications to be president.

Nasheed lives in self imposed exile most recently in Sri Lanka after he was allowed to leave to the UK on medical leave in an internationally brokered deal following his jailing on terrorism charges.

Nasheed's 13 year prison sentence rules him out of the elections in September as per the constitution. But the ex-president is set to contest the primary later Wednesday unchallenged where voting is set to commence at 2pm.

The commission had warned action if MDP holds the primary with Nasheed adding that the result of the elections would not be accepted adding that it would reject the results of any primary held with candidates who do not meet the qualifications prescribed in the constitution.

But a day before the elections, the commission had sent letters to the police chief and home minister saying that MDP was set to ignore the commission's warnings and proceed with Nasheed as a candidate.

The commission said the primary would be illegal as the candidate remains a convicted criminal and urged the authorities to stop MDP from holding the primary.

MDP had previously vowed to challenge any dispute over Nasheed's candidacy insisting that the elections commission does not have the authority to determine the legitimacy of presidential candidates.

The main opposition leaders including former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Nasheed along with Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim and religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla inked pact to form what they called a 'reform alliance'.

With the candidacy of the four leaders - all convicted and serving sentences on questionable charges in serious doubt, the united opposition had announced plans to nominate a single candidate for the upcoming presidential elections.