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Campaigns warned against targeting police officers

Photos were shared of the opposition candidates shaking hands with policemen.



Campaign activities targeted at police officers are “unacceptable,” the Maldives Police Service said Thursday, threatening “legal action” against parties.

Certain individuals have been going to police stations while campaigning for the September 23 presidential election, the police said in a statement, urging political parties not to specifically target police officers.

The warning comes after photos were shared on social media of the opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and running mate Faisal Naseem shaking hands with police officers during campaign visits to islands.

Police officers, who number in the thousands, have the right to vote in the Maldives. Both sides have been making pledges appealing for their vote, most recently concerning unfinished social housing in Hulhumalé.

Earlier this month, police threatened “legal action” against the use of campaign posters of convicted opposition leaders. But police officers have not been deployed to tear off posters as they were in June.

The Elections Commission doubled down on the threats last week, warning parties not to involve convicted leaders in their campaign.

Opposition-aligned TV stations have been censoring speeches and content from exiled opposition leaders, former president Mohamed Nasheed and Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim, heeding warnings of punitive action from the broadcasting regulator and home ministry against “promoting” convicts.

The EC also warned against the use of unregistered entities or another party’s logo or colour after former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s supporters formed the ‘Maumoon Reform Movement’ to represent the former strongman in the joint opposition presidential campaign.

Gayoom, who was expelled from the ruling party following an acrimonious leadership dispute last year, was jailed on obstruction charges in June. His son Faris Maumoon was found guilty of identity fraud for using the flag and logo of the Progressive Party of Maldives founded by his father.