Ruling party challenges EC's refusal to endorse congress

Ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) on Sunday challenged the electoral watchdog's refusal to endorse the party's congress which elected outgoing president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom as the new party leader at the country's first appellate court.

PPM had claimed that president Yameen who suffered a rather embarrassing defeat to the opposition alliance candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in September's presidential elections was voted in as the new leader unanimously by congress members.

However, the members of the Elections Commission had refused to endorse the congress citing procedural violations.

The commission's decision meant that president Yameen's election as the party leader would be void.

In the challenge filed at the High Court, PPM had argued that the elections commission's decision was "illegal" and asked the appellate court to order the commission to recognize the party's congress.

The party's last congress was held in 2013 to elect former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom as the party president. Gayoom however was unceremoniously ousted from the party after falling-out with his half brother Yameen and has since been jailed over the alleged plot to overthrow the government in February.

The Civil Court in 2016 found Gayoom guilty of violating the constitution, party charter and the political party law and handed-over party control to president Yameen.