MDP warns action against members who run for parliament independently

Main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has stated that action may be taken against party members who decide to run as independent candidates after losing the parliamentary primaries of the party.

The Supreme Court earlier on Monday annulled the law barring individuals who lose in the primaries from contesting as independent candidates, and ordered the Elections Commission to accept the candidacy papers of such candidates until 4th March, even though the original deadline has already expired.

The case was submitted at the Supreme Court by prominent business man and former Kaadhishoo MP AHmed Jabir, who could not secure a party ticket in the MDP primaries.

Speaking at their daily press conference, MDP spokesperson Afshan Latheef said they are appalled that such an order was made by the Supreme Court, specifically targeting MDP. The strategy that will be followed by MDP with the new development will be decided by the party leadership, and it is likely that action will be taken against those candidates who apply to contest in the parliamentary election as independent candidates, warned Afshan.

Opposing Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Peoples' National Congress (PNC) also held primaries for some constituencies to decide on the candidates that would represent the progressive coalition. The two parties will also be taking action against party members who contest independently.

Former President and leader of MDP Mohamed Nasheed on Monday criticized the Supreme Court's decision stating that the main reason the faith and trust placed in the judiciary is lost is due to judicial over-reach through meddling and influencing elections. He stressed that not even the Supreme Court can be allowed to extend the deadline for submission of candidacy papers.

He has also stated that he hopes all MDP members will refrain from running as independent candidates in order to prioritize the party and political situation of the Maldives.

Meanwhile, Commissioner of Elections, Ahmed Shareef said although the candidates who lost primaries can submit their applications as independent candidates until the 4th of March, there would be no changes or delays to the election date, which has been scheduled for 6th April.