The Maldivian Democratic Party has accused the Elections Commission of double standards following threats to take action against the party over its three-day protest in late November.
The EC had threatened to take action against the main opposition party over the use of the UN logo in the November 27 protest. The MDP had printed the blue emblem on t-shirts and banners urging President Abdulla Yameen to release former President Mohamed Nasheed as recommended by a UN human rights panel in September.
In its response to the commission’s letter, the MDP said that the EC should also take action against the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives.
“If taking action against the whole party for the actions of any one individual is the commission’s policy, we inform you that as the government is acting against the UN’s ruling directly because President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom himself is hesitating to act as per the ruling, action should be taken against the party the president represents,” reads the MDP’s reply to the EC.
The EC had told the party that it is looking into issues related to the November 27 and considering punitive action. As the “guardian of political parties,” the EC advised the MDP to ensure that its activities take place within legal bounds.
The MDP has been at loggerheads with the EC since the appointment of new members to the independent body by the PPM-dominated parliament earlier this year. Last month, the party sued the commission over a new requirement for all political parties to re-register members with fingerprinted forms.
In its letter to the commission this week, the MDP meanwhile insisted that it had followed the UN’s guideline in using the emblem. The MDP also denied allegations of involving minors in street protests.
The UN office in the Maldives in a tweet on December 1 had said that impartiality is a key UN principle and reminded political parties to refrain from using the logo. The tweet referred to a guideline published in 2013 on the use of the UN emblem.
The EC, in a letter, told the main opposition party that the United Nations had sent a statement the same day with concerns over the use of the UN emblem at the protest, along with a guideline on how the emblem can be used.
The MDP’s national council meanwhile held a meeting last night to discuss the party next moves. MDP Vice President Mohamed Shifaz submitted a resolution for the party to redouble efforts to secure the release of Nasheed and other jailed opposition politicians.
Speaking at the meeting, MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ‘Ibu,’ the party’s parliamentary group leader, advised all members against compromising the party’s interest with their actions.
The national council members should also work together and be on the same page in order for the party to make progress, Ibu said, suggesting further discussions over the party’s internal affairs.
“Holding the government accountable is one of our most important responsibilities. In addition, we also have to see if the government fulfills its pledges,” he said.