Maldives Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss the president and vice president of the Elections Commission, and sentence the commission’s president to six months in prison represent an unprecedented expansion of judicial powers, said the U.S. State Department on Monday.
“These actions represent an unprecedented expansion of judicial powers which undermines an independent democratic institution that has made laudable efforts to hold multiple successful elections despite previous judicial interference,” read the statement by Jen Psaki, Spokesperson for the U.S. State Department.
It also noted that the Supreme Court’s insistence on holding parliamentary elections on March 22 while imprisoning the very official responsible for holding those elections “calls into serious question the government’s commitment to democracy.”
At a contempt hearing against the Elections Commission on Sunday, Maldives Supreme Court sentenced to disqualify the commission’s president Fuad Thaufeeg and his deputy Ahmed Fayaz as members of commission, for disparaging court procedures. Fuad also received a six-month jail sentence, suspended for three years.