The Maldivian Democratic Party condemns the Election Commission’s egregious removal of MDP Parliamentary Group leader MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and MP Eva Abdulla from the Party’s membership list

The Election Commission has today removed MDP MPs, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Eva Abdulla from the Party’s membership list. MP Ibu Solih is a founding member of the MDP, and is also the Party’s Parliamentary Group Leader. MP Ibu Solih is currently serving his fifth term in Parliament, whereas MP Eva Abdulla is serving her second.

The Election Commission, whose independence has been compromised since the appointment of individuals politically aligned to the Yameen Government, began their insidious meddling with Party membership lists in July 2014. Parties were given 6 months to re-register members whose fingerprints were not on file. The MDP, as the first and largest party to be registered in the Maldives had over 20,000 members that needed to be re-registered. MDP along with the DRP challenged this order at the Civil Court, arguing that the requirement could not be applied retroactively. The case moved onto the High Court, which granted an injunction on the Election Commission’s order. In reaction to the injunction, the ruling party used its majority to circumvent the courts and passed an amendment to the Political Parties requiring all members to submit fingerprinted membership forms or be taken off the lists. As state funding is allocated in relation to the number of members registered, the expediting of this unlawful act by the Ruling Part in cahoots with the Elections Commission is another example of the Government’s use of independent institutions to weaken opposition parties and the multi party system.

MPs Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Eva Abdulla have submitted fingerprinted forms twice to the Election Commission only to be repeatedly rejected. Their forms were submitted prior to the deadline and following the second submission they were not informed of the cause of rejection. Most surprisingly, rather than informing the Party or the MPs themselves that they had been rejected, the Election Commission opted to immediately inform the Parliament of their removal from the MDP’s registrar. The removal of the MPs from the MDP would result in further restrictions on the time allocated to the Party in Parliament as per the amended rules of procedure passed using the ruling party’s majority.

At a time where the political party system in the Maldives is increasingly under threat from the Government’s politically motivated use of the judiciary and independent institutions, the MDP condemns the disenfranchisement of its MPs and 18,000 party members. MDP calls upon the Election Commission to immediately cease from abusing its authority.

MDP’s International Spokesperson, Hamid Abdul Gafoor said, “it is slightly suspicious how keen the EC were to inform Parliament of the removal of MDP MP Ibu Solih and MP Eva Abdulla when they and the Parliament have repeatedly refused to acknowledge the MDP’s requests to remove MP Moosa Manik as a member of the MDP’s Parliamentary Group. The EC’s actions continue to obstruct peaceful political activity, making a mockery of our constitution and the hopes for a free and fair election.’