Reference No: 15 /10/2013
1 October 2013
MDP Statement on the Ongoing Political Crisis
The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) strongly condemns the deliberate distortion of the democratic process by the Maldivian authorities, depriving the Maldivian people of their right to an elected Government.
On Thursday, 26 September, the Supreme Court issued an order calling on the security services to forcibly prevent the Elections Commission from conducting the second round of Presidential polls. The Maldives Police Service duly carried out this unconstitutional order and the Elections Commission was forced to call of the elections citing an environment not conduscive to free and fair elections due to non cooperation from Government agencies. This included, the Ministry of Finance and Treasury which stated that it would not provide funds to the Election Commission, the Ministry of Education that refused to release schools to be used as polling stations and the Ministry of Home Affairs that instructed the Maldives Police Service to obstruct any election preparations from proceeding.
Thousands of protestors took to the streets on 27 September 2013 demanding for the second round of the Maldives’ Presidential elections to proceed on Saturday 28 September – as mandated by the Constitution and demanded by the Parliament and the international community. Photographs of this protest shows police confronting peaceful protesters with large amount of pepper spray. The Police also sprayed pepper spray into the face of President Mohamed Nasheed, who was present at the protest.
Consecutive protests calling for Elections continue to take place in the Maldives. As of now, a total of over 30 People have been arrested during the protests including one journalist and two Members of Parliament.
Intimidation and death threats
Early morning on 23 September, a vehicle parked in the garage of the Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Abdulla Shahid’s house was set on fire, following public threats issued by supporters of opposition Parties contesting the results of the first round of elections. The Speaker had requested the Chief of Defense Forces, Major General Shiyam to ensure his protection. Speaker of Parliament, Shahid declared the attack on his property as terrorism. To this date, no substantive action has been taken by the Police.
Following the decision by the Elections Commission to call off the scheduled elections, the Police initially surrounded the Election Commission building, citing that it for the protection of the Election Commission. However, media were prevented from entering the premises and the movements of Election Commission staff were restricted by the Police, adding to an environment of fear.
The MDP is deeply concerned about reports of targeted intimidation of Election Commission staff, including over a 100 cases of death threats which the Election Commission have now filed with the Police.
The MDP notes with great concern the renewed calls for President Nasheed’s arrest and to expedite the politically motivated trial against him by PPM/JP.
Since the Supreme Court’s unconstitutional order, MDP MPs have come under targeted attack, with opposition, PPM stating that they intend to file cases seeking to invalidate the Parliament seats of MDP MPs Mohamed Rasheed, Imthiyaz Fahmy, Alhan Fahmy, Ibrahim Rasheed, Moosa Manik (MDP Chairperson) and Abdulla Shahid (Speaker of Parliament) who they state are in contempt of court for speaking against the Supreme Court order. Whereas, the Maldives Police Service are currently investigating five MDP MPs for issues ranging from contempt of court to inciting violence. Deputy Chair of the MDP Parliamentary Group, MP Ali Waheed received death threats on Friday, 27 September date and his private vehicle was vandalized on Sunday 29, September.
MDP MP Ali Azim was violently arrested midnight, Sunday 29 September by the riot police at the peaceful protest calling for an election date.
On Monday 30 September morning, MDP’s international spokesperson MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor was arrested by the police to summon him to court on the ongoing politically motivated trial against him alleging suspicion of possessing drugs and alcohol.
MP Alhan Fahmy was summoned to police on Monday, September 30, on allegations of contempt of court, citing that he had threatened Justices of the Supreme Court.
MDP’s international spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said:
“The Supreme Court has called off the second round of the presidential elections in flagrant violation of the Maldivian Constitution, which clearly states that the second round must be held within three weeks of the first.
“The Maldives Police Service was instructed by the Court and the Waheed regime to forcibly prevent the elections from taking place. This is an unconstitutional and illegal order.
“We call on the police to protect, not attack, citizens who are demanding their constitutional right to vote.
“The Waheed regime and the Supreme Court have lost all moral and legal legitimacy.”
Hamid Abdul Ghafoor
Spokesperson, International Affairs