No action will be taken against PNC, decides EC

Maldives' electoral body, Elections Commission has dismissed the complaints filed against former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyom's new party, Peoples National Congress (PNC).

The committee established by the Elections Commission (EC) to probe the complaint revealed on Wednesday that the commission cannot look into the complaint under the new regulations.

A member of EC's legal department who is part of the committee, Mahfooz Saeed said the commission decided to take no action against PNC as the new regulations that prohibit the use of other party's assets and resources for the administration of a second political party was introduced after the permit to register PNC was already issued.

"The new regulations were gazetted on 24th January. PNC was given the permission to go ahead with the registration process and to hold their inaugural congress before the new regulations were introduced. Therefore, we do not believe we can take action against a party based on a regulation that was implemented after the necessary permissions were granted", said Mahfooz.

Th conclusion of their investigation has been shared with the commission, and the commission has agreed to follow the decision made by the committee, added Mahfooz.

While looking into the complaint, which accused PNC of using Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)'s assets to run party, statements of both sides were taken into account by the committee. However, the committee had not received the cooperation of the individual who submitted the complaint in obtaining further information regarding the case, noted Mahfooz.

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.

However, a lawsuit was 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.