‘Maldives election is on schedule’

Dismissing Opposition claims that the Maldivian presidential election might be postponed, the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) has assured that the poll will be held in September as scheduled.

The Elections Commission of the Maldives in June announced that the presidential electionwill be held on September 23.

However, the Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on Sunday expressed “serious concern” over what it called “President (Abdulla) Yameen’s groundwork” to postpone or cancel the elections.

The statement came in the wake of Defence Minister Adam Shareef Umar’s recent remarks that the police and military had learnt of “a plot to incite unrest and destabilise the nation” in the coming days.

Neither the government nor the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Maldives has so far clarified the Defence Minister’s claim.

Social media speculation

Mr. Umar’s announcement, which was made on Facebook, reportedly sparked social media speculation, with some accusing the Male administration of seeking a pretext to delay the presidential election.

Denying such a move, a PPM lawmaker told media persons, “We want to hold the election as soon as possible. And it will happen on the date the Elections Commission has set,” according to the Male-based newspaper
Maldives Independent

The September electionwill witness a contest between President Abdulla Yameen, and a united Opposition led by the MDP. The Opposition bloc includes the Jumhooree Party, the Adalath Party and a faction of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives, led by the former President, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who is currently in prison.

The poll also assumes significance in a year of turbulence, after a shock Supreme Court ruling in February set off a series of events that led to political unrest in the Maldives.

State of emergency

After the court ruling overturned criminal convictions of nine dissident leaders currently in prison or in exile, President Yameen imposed a 45-day state of emergency, jailed the Chief Justice and another judge, as well as former President Gayoom.

The remaining judges later overturned the Supreme Court’s February order, effectively preventing Opposition leaders from contesting elections.

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