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EC rejects 'illegal' MDP primary, vows action

Maldives' electoral watchdog on Thursday vowed action against main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) describing the party's presidential primary as an "illegal" political activity.

Nearly 44,000 members voted in favour of self-exiled former president Mohamed Nasheed to be its candidate for the upcoming presidential elections, MDP had claimed.

The party's supporters were forced to get creative as police seized ballot boxes in a bid to stop the primary which Nasheed was contesting unchallenged following a court order shortly after voting began on Wednesday.

But despite the court order and best efforts by police to stop the elections, voting in polling stations set up throughout the nation and four countries abroad had taken place until midnight on Thursday.

According to preliminary results released by the party, a total 44,011 had voted in the primary out of which 43,922 members had voted Yes.

Elections Commission member Ahmed Akram told AVAS that the commission would not accept the result of an "illegal" primary and vowed action against MDP.

"What action we would take against MDP would be decided during a commission sit-down on Tuesday," Akram said.

Civil Court had issued a stay order on the primary over Nasheed's candidacy after the country's electoral watchdog made the request saying that the primary was illegal as its only candidate was a convicted criminal.

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.