Maldives Government Cripples Opposition Weeks Ahead of Parliamentary Elections

Maldives Government Cripples Opposition Weeks Ahead of Parliamentary Elections

The Maldivian Political Parties Act requires that the Elections Commission; the body that oversees the maintenance and management of political parties in the island republic; should distribute 0.2 per cent of the State’s annual budget among all parties every year.

With weeks ahead of the parliamentary elections in April, the Elections Commission has withheld the distribution of the sum of 8.4 million Maldivian Rufiya (1 USD$ = 15.48 MVR) to the largest opposition party in the country, the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM). This sum was due before the end of 2018.

The leader of the PPM, Mr Abdullah Yameen, is also currently being held in detention until a case lodged against him by the Prosecutor General’s Office is tried in court. Mr Hussain Shameem, a prominent lawyer who had once served as the deputy Prosecutor General, described Mr Yameen’s detention as “unconstitutional and wrong” on Twitter.

Mr Yameen is reportedly being kept in solitary confinement. He has been rushed to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in the capital city of Male three times on account of his deteriorating health.

The severity of his condition has led some of his family members to claim that the former president had been “poisoned”.

Mr Qasim Ibrahim, one of Mr Yameen’s political rivals and the speaker of the Maldivian parliament, had publicly called to free the former president from detention.

Meanwhile, the Maldivian Democratic Party-led government is campaigning in full force, unhindered.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih publicly declared, this week, that all parliamentarians should “agree” with the government and its goals.

The government appears to be doing all within its power to win the majority of the parliamentary seats for the Maldivian Democratic Party; even it means paralyzing and dismantling the Opposition.

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