Presidential hopeful Hussain Naseer has decided to challenge the Elections Commission’s rejection of his candidacy at the Supreme Court.
The electoral body rejected the little-known businessman’s candidacy Friday morning, citing inauthentic information in his application.
At a press briefing later on Friday, Naseer’s spokesman disputed the EC’s “unfounded” reasons, which included incomplete information, change of Naseer’s permanent address, and invalid information about the 1,500 people who backed his candidacy.
The criminal record information of running mate Sheikh Nasrulla Musthafa was also incomplete, the commission said.
The preacher was previously arrested on suspicion of being involved in a scam that saw four people sent to Mecca without arrangements in place for their pilgrimage. He is also on trial in a separate case relating to pornographic material.
But the spokesman, Amjad Hussain, stressed that the sheikh has not been convicted of a crime.
Alleging undue influence over the five-member commission, Nasrulla said the EC refused to allow resubmission of the candidacy papers before the deadline of 4 pm on August 10. The EC refused to return the MVR100,000 (US$6,500) deposit fee and the set of forms from the 1,500 supporters, he said.
According to electoral laws, the EC’s decision on a candidacy must be challenged at either the High Court or Supreme Court within five days, after which the appellate court must issue a judgment within seven days.
Asked by reporters if their intention was to delay the September 23 election, Nasrullah said he did not believe the case could warrant a postponement.
He also denied an ulterior motive or hidden agenda behind the candidacy when reporters observed that the pair was previously unknown in Maldivian politics.