The Elections Commission has declared that MP Abdulla Ahmed has been stripped of his seat following his expulsion from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives.
The electoral body informed parliament Tuesday that the MP for the Thinadhoo South constituency has lost his seat due to the Supreme Court’s anti-defection ruling, the state broadcaster reported.
The former Jumhooree Party MP expressed defiance on social media and insisted that he “remain in the post [that I was] elected to by the people in accordance with the constitution”.
Abdulla – who switched from the JP to the PPM in November 2015 – is the seventh former ruling party lawmaker to be contentiously unseated by the EC since the apex court’s July 13 anti-defection ruling, which says that MPs who were elected on political party tickets will be disqualified once the electoral body notifies parliament that they have either left their party, been expelled, or switched parties.
Abdulla was among ten MPs who left the PPM in early July after backing the impeachment of the speaker. The defections from the divided ruling party appeared to hand the opposition a clear majority, but the disqualification of four MPs was used to quash the no-confidence motion.
The EC has since decided to hold by-elections in six constituencies but has yet to announce dates.
A much anticipated Supreme Court decision last week on the status of four former PPM MPs who were deemed to have lost their seats for crossing the floor failed to resolve the dispute.
The EC called by-elections in four constituencies shortly after the apex court ruled that there was no room to adjudicate the cases with reference to article 74 of the constitution, which requires it to determine “any question concerning the qualifications or removal or vacating of seats”.
The opposition insisted that the ruling meant there was no dispute to resolve. The court was clear that MPs who left or were expelled from their parties before its July 13 anti-defection ruling were safe, lawyers said.
But the EC said it resumed preparations for the polls because the Supreme Court did not overturn its July 19 decision to consider the seats vacant.
Despite the for ex-PPM MPs insisting during the hearings that they were expelled from the PPM long before the Attorney General sought the anti-defection ruling, the state attorney maintained that they remained on the PPM’s registry until the party formally requested their removal on July 18.
Hisaan Hussain, the opposition’s top lawyer, told reporters last week that the court said there was no need for a decision on the removal of MPs or vacating of seats because “there was no circumstance to dispute the membership of members of the People’s Majlis as of July 13″.
The PPM, however, backed the EC’s stance, contending that the MPs remained in the party until the commission formally notified the parliament of their expulsion.
Apart from MPs Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim, Mohamed Ameeth, Saud Hussain, and Abdul Latheef Mohamed, who contested their disqualification, MPs Abdulla Sinan and Ilham Ahmed were also deemed to have been stripped of their seats after their expulsion from the PPM in late July.