Abdul Maaniu Hussain was elected on Saturday to represent lawyers on the Judicial Service Commission.
Standing against four other candidates, Maaniu was elected with 199 votes (50 percent), according to provisional results announced by the Elections Commission. Ali Rasheed came in second with 124 votes (31 percent). The other candidates included Mariyam Haneefa Khalid and outgoing information commissioner Abdul Azeez Jamal Abu Bakuru.
Despite 1,487 licensed lawyers registering to vote, the turnout was 27 percent as only 404 people cast ballots. There were seven invalid votes.
Voting took place in both the capital Malé and Addu City in the southernmost atoll.
The JSC, a 10-member oversight body for the judiciary, is tasked with investigating complaints against judges and taking disciplinary action.
The independent commission is comprised of three judges nominated by their peers from the Supreme Court, the High Court, and the trial courts as well as the attorney general, a presidential appointee, the chair of the civil service commission, the speaker of parliament, a lawmaker nominated by parliament, a member of the public chosen by parliament, and a lawyer elected by licensed practitioners.
In the wake of an overhaul of the JSC’s membership after presidential and parliamentary elections, the watchdog has been probing complaints against top judges, including four out of five Supreme Court justices.
It announced last Wednesday that subcommittees have been formed to investigate complaints against Abdulla Ali, chief judge of the civil court, Ahmed Shareef, chief magistrate of the Laamu Dhabidhoo island court, and Hassan Ali, a High Court judge.
Judicial reform was a key pledge of both President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and his Maldivian Democratic Party’s campaign for April’s parliamentary elections. With its landslide victory, the MDP secured well above the two-thirds majority needed to remove judges from the bench.
Earlier this month, a JSC committee that was investigating suspended Supreme Court Justice Abdulla Didi recommended his dismissal. Didi is accused of regularly taking bribes, releasing suspects in return for favours and seeking government job opportunities for members of his family.