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Oct 04, 2018

Maldives: SC overrules EC's reinstatement of dozen MPs disqualified for crossing floor

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In Maldives, Supreme Court has overruled the Elections Commission’s reinstatement of a dozen MPs who were disqualified for crossing the floor. After reviewing its previous decision to consider the 12 seats vacant, the EC reversed its decision yesterday to hold by-elections, effectively clearing the way for parliament to resume with an opposition majority. 

But in an order issued last night, the Supreme Court quashed the EC’s decision and declared that any parliamentary vote with the 12 MPs would be invalid and unconstitutional. 

It noted that the apex court is hearing cases filed by the MPs and until judgments are delivered, the EC does not have the authority to make decisions on their status.  The MPs were deemed to have lost their seats in July last year after they backed the impeachment motion of Parliament speaker. Their defections had realigned the parliament majority in opposition’s favour which won the Presidential elections last month. 

On the 1st of February, the Supreme Court reinstated the MPs but President Abdulla Yameen reacted by declaring emergency and arresting two Supreme Court justices, who were removed from the bench.

A re-constituted bench revoked the ruling in late July. Following the EC's decision yesterday, the joint opposition had called on the Speaker to resign and declared their intention to repeal an anti-defection law, which was one of many legislations passed by the ruling party despite lack of constitutional quorum of 43 MPs needed to pass laws.

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