The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and the Maldives Democracy Network (MDN) have issued a joint statement expressing concern over the Supreme Court’s 4:3 decision to annul the first round of the 2013 presidential election. “The unjustifiable delay and judicially forceful suspension of the second round of the election, due on 28 September, indicates an encroachment of the judiciary over the powers of the Elections Commission, an independent constitutional body answerable to the Parliament of the Maldives,” read the statement. The statement described the court’s verdict as being founded on “materially baseless arguments”, after the first round was “applauded as a success by the international community.”
“Maldivian authorities must swiftly bring the electoral process to an end, in a free and fair manner”, said FIDH President Karim Lahidji.
The 4:3 verdict hinged on a confidential police report supposedly claiming that 5,600 votes were ineligible due to errors such as address mismatches. The report has not been made public and was not shown to the Election Commission’s defence lawyers.
The court issued the verdict 13 days after it heard the concluding statements, issuing an injunction halting the election and missing the constitutionally-mandated deadline for the run-off.