MDP, PPM and PNC fined for violation of HPA guidelines

Opening of a MDP campaign office in Hulhumale' on March 12, 2021.

Main ruling party Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People’s National Congress (PNC) – who together form the opposition coalition – were fined on Sunday for violating Health Protection Agency (HPA)’s guidelines.

A police spokesperson confirmed all three political parties were fined for violating HPAs guidelines.

According to the spokesperson, MDP was fined MVR 5,000 for conducting the party's activities in violation of HPA guidelines, while PPM and PNC were each fined MVR 25,000 for repeated violation of HPA guidelines during protests.

While PPM and PNC have been fined for conducting political activities in violation of HPA’s guidelines in the past, it marks the first time for the main ruling party to be penalized.

The penalty against MDP comes after the party opened a campaign office in suburban Hulhumale’ on Friday – an event which attracted a large gathering.

As part of special measures to control the spread of COVID-19 in the greater Male’ region, public gatherings of more than five people are banned and people are required to maintain a physical distance of three feet.

Failure to take action against MDP despite the violation of HPA’s guidelines had sparked criticism from opposition parties against the police. MDP had previously held a gathering in Male’ City – which wasn’t met with any penalty.

The police have stated that the serial protests by the opposition in Male’ violates HPA’s guidelines, and that they will not allow for the protests to be held. The police have been blockading the road where the PPM headquarters is located in order to stop the protests. The opposition have lodged an official complaint with Elections Commission over the issue.

Scores have been arrested from the protests and fined.