Apex court annulls law barring candidates defeated in primaries from contesting

Maldives' apex court on Monday ruled against the ban on individuals who lose a party primary from contesting independently.

The Supreme Court annulled Article 20 of the Political Party Act, which enforces a statutory ban on individuals who lose a party primary from contesting in the target election independently.

In their verdict, the top court ordered the Elections Commission to accept candidacy papers of those who lost party primaries but wishes to compete in the parliamentary election independently until 4th March.

The case was filed jointly by prominent businessman and former Kaashidhoo MP, Abdulla Jabir who recently suffered a defeat in main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s primaries for the parliamentary election, and attorney Abdul Maaniu Hussain. The same issue was also presented to the Supreme Court by Ahmed Mohamed from southernmost Addu City.

The Supreme Court, with the unanimous agreement of all five judges presiding over the bench said in their verdict that the article barring individuals who lose their bid for a party ticket from running independently infringes on the political rights of an individual mandated by the constitution.

Parliamentarians voted to amend the political party law which barres individuals defeated in primaries from contesting in elections in 2016.