PPM-PNC: Move to suspend parties, an attempt to incapacitate the opposition

PPM deputy leader Ahmed Shiyam (R) with PNC leader Abdul Raheem Abdulla (L). (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The opposition coalition, composed of PPM and PNC, said on Wednesday that the work underway to revise the law to allow for suspension of political parties is a move to incapacitate the opposition.

The Attorney General’s Office is working on drafting amendments to the Political Parties Act, and the Elections Commission (EC) announced earlier this Wednesday that it is working on drafting the amendments it wishes to make to the Act, and submitting it to the Attorney General’s Office for consideration.

One of the amendments EC wishes to make is to allow for political parties to be suspended as a penalty for violations of the Political Parties Act.

Speaking to Sun regarding the planned amendment, PPM’s deputy leader, Naifaru MP Ahmed Shiyam said that the amendment isn’t motivated by the intention of holding political parties accountable.

He accused President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of exerting undue influence over EC, and said that the amendment in question was being made in accordance with his wishes.

“This amendment to Political Parties Act is being made at Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s say-so out of fear his administration will collapse, and will end. Once suspended, they won’t have any opposition, right?” said Shiyam.

Shiyam said that the current administration wishes to incapacitate competitive opposition parties.

“We say this is a deliberate move to bind our hands. To bind the hands of competitive opposition parties,” he said.

Referring to the MoU signed between Elections Commission of Maldives and the Elections Commission of India, Shiyam alleged that the amendments were being drafted in accordance with India’s wishes.

“The media needs to know the specifics of the agreements. This work is directly operated by and in collaboration with India, to defend the current administration,” he said.

 EC said it is working on making a drafting amendments that the commission, to address issues that have come to its attention as the regulatory body of political parties.

EC’s vice chairperson Ahmed Akram said the revisions will cover 75 percent of the Act, and will be submitted to the Attorney General’s Office within September.

EC said that it began drafting amendments to the Political Parties Act following counsel from political parties, and will consult with the parties before finalizing the draft and submitting it to the Attorney General’s Office.