Maldives court overturns disqualifications of remaining four MPs to reinstate rebel dozen

Maldives' apex court on Tuesday overturned the disqualifications of the remaining four lawmakers who had been disqualified over an earlier anti-defection ruling.

In four separate hearings on Tuesday, the Supreme Court reinstated Hanimaadhoo lawmaker Hussain Shahudhee, Ihavandhoo MP Ahmed Abdulla, Thimarafushi MP Mohamed Musthafa and North-Fuvahmulah MP Ali Shah saying that the lawmakers 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 lawmakers after they were 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 all 12 lawmakers handing parliament majority to the opposition alliance.

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