Maldives top court overturns disqualification of eighth MP

Maldives' apex court on Monday annulled the disqualification of an eighth former ruling party lawmaker who had been disqualified over an earlier anti-defection ruling.

Similar to the three verdicts earlier Monday, the Supreme Court reinstated South-Thinadhoo MP Saudhullah Hilmy saying that the lawmaker had resigned from the party before its anti-defection ruling and could not be applied in retrospect by the Elections Commission.

Elections Commission had disqualified the lawmaker after he was dismissed from the ruling party under the contentious Supreme Court anti-defection ruling to announce by-elections.

Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) had officially removed the rebel lawmakers from the party amid a struggle to regain its majority in parliament.

PPM had been devastated by a revolt after as many as a dozen lawmakers backed an opposition led move to unseat the parliament speaker Abdulla Maseeh in March last year.

With the latest verdict, Supreme Court has now reinstated eight lawmakers out of the 12 that had been disqualified while the court is expected to settle the disputes of the remaining former government MPs.

The reinstatement came following the opposition alliance's resounding victory in last month's presidential elections.