Maldives Supreme Court ‘shames’ Atuguba Court …. Annuls Results of Presidential Elections


Photo ReportingMaldives Supreme Court ‘shames’ Atuguba Court …. Annuls Results of Presidential Elections

09 October 2013

Contrary to Justice William Atuguba’s statement on page 40 of his judgement in the just ended 2012 Presidential Election petition that “For starters I would state that the Judiciary in Ghana, like its counterparts in other jurisdictions, does not readily invalidate a public election but often strives in the public interest, to sustain it”, the Maldives Supreme Court has annulled results from the first round of voting in presidential elections.


The decision taken by the court on Monday, October 6, 2013, ordered for a fresh ballot to be organised on Saturday October 20, 2013, in a country where 240,302 people (above 18 years of age) are registered to vote, including 31,000 newly registered voters and 65,745 who registered to vote at a location other than their home island.

The Maldives suspended a presidential run-off election that was due to take place on September 28 after the Supreme Court ordered officials to postpone it.

The run-off had been expected to help end months of political turmoil triggered by the removal of former President Mohamed Nasheed, who was ousted from power 20 months ago amid a mutiny by police.

President Nasheed had won a first round on September 7, with 45.45 percent of the vote, but fell short of the 50 percent needed for outright victory.

Four of seven judges approved the decision. The other three, including Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain, said there was no legal basis to annul the election.

Judge Ahmed Abdulla Didi, who voted in favour of annulling the poll, cited a confidential police report claiming 5,623 ineligible voters had cast votes, including some who were dead, under-age voters, and some using fake identity cards.

Local and international election observers, including delegations from the Commonwealth, the United Nations, the European Union and India, had declared the September 7 election free and fair.

The Maldives Election Commission, which had prepared for the run-off on September 28, was forced to cancel it at the last moment after the Supreme Court ordered security forces to take action against anyone who violated its order of postponing the vote.

The government of President Mohamed Waheed, Nasheed's successor also refused to grant necessary funds to hold the run-off polls, while the Education Ministry refused to grant access to schools for polling.

The Supreme Court verdict laid down guidelines to the Election Commission for the fresh poll to be held by October 20, including giving the police a substantial role in logistics and maintaining security, while demanding the commission collaborate with state agencies to secure its database.

The court ordered the second round of the presidential poll to be held by November 3, if nobody won more than 50 percent of the votes in the first round of the fresh polls.

Thousands of Nasheed Maldivian Democratic Party supporters cautiously welcomed the Supreme Court announcement of the date of the polls.

"Do not worry. Now we have the election in our hands. We wanted an election date. Now we will not even have to go for a second round," MDP legislator Mohamed Nazim told a gathering outside the court.

One woman among the MDP supporters shouted at the police: "Traitors! You facilitated one coup, now a second coup, you will do it again. But we will beat you down with votes."

Abdulla Yameen, half-brother of longtime ruler Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, came second in the presidential poll, just ahead of Gasim Ibrahim, a tourism and media tycoon who was Gayoom's finance minister.

Yameen's running mate Mohamed Jameel said there would be guidelines the Elections Commission must follow this time. "I think based on the judgment ... the head of the Election Commission must resign as a moral and legal step," he said.

By Fiifi Arhin

Source: thestatesmanonline



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