EC probes complaint against PNC

Elections Commission (EC) has launched an investigation into newly authorized party, Peoples National Congress (PNC).

According to reports, a member of the general public filed a complaint at the commission following the new amendments brought to the Political Party Act. It is believed that the complaint is over the use of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s assets by the party.

Commission member, Ahmed Akram confirmed to AVAS that a case against PNC has been filed at the commission and is currently being investigated.

The Elections Commission on Thursday night brought amendments to their existing regulations which would allow the commission to dismiss a previously issued authorization to register a political party.

The new regulations state that if the commission identifies that the resources of an existing party is being used to form a new political party, the commission reserves the right to revoke the permit issued to form the new political party.

According to the amendment, in the case that the formation of a new party leads to the leadership positions of an existing party to be vacated, and there are no officials to run the existing party, the commission has the authority to reject the registration of the new party.

In addition to this, the party registration permit may also be revoked in the instance that undue influence and authority is used to create a new party.

The commission also reserves the right to hold off party registration if such a complaint is received during the registration process until the investigation of the complaint is concluded.

Maldives' electoral body earlier on Thursday granted the necessary permit to party founder MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla to establish former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's new party.

The decision came amid allegations that the Elections Commission was deliberately delaying registration of the People's National Congress. It is largely believed that the new regulations would cause further challenges to PNC in facing the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Former president, Yameen had moved to register a new political party as the dispute over the opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) leadership drags on.

Speaking to local reporters late last month, Yameen had said the move to form a new party was with his "blessing."

"We can't head to an election with the party's future shrouded in uncertainty. Supreme Court is in recess. We don't when or how the verdict would come. So we can't take any chances," Yameen explained the reasons behind the bid to form a new party.

The former president also urged his supporters to immediately switch to the party if and when the time comes.

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

Gayoom however was unceremoniously ousted from the party after falling-out with his half brother Yameen.

A lawsuit was then filed challenging the legality of the PPM leadership and asking the Civil Court to handover party reins to the elder Gayoom, but before a single hearing could be held, the Supreme Court had taken over the case.