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Supreme Court rules Yameen cannot contest election

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The Supreme Court, on Sunday, ruled against former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom in a petition he filed with the court, contesting the Elections Commission (EC)’s decision to reject his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election.

Yameen, the leader of the main opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), was sentenced to 11 years in prison for money laundering and bribery charges in connection to the sale of V. Aarah for resort development on December 25, 2022.

Despite his imprisonment, he submitted his candidacy for the September 9 election last week.

The EC rejected Yameen’s candidacy due to his conviction, citing Article 109 (f) of the Constitution, which disqualifies candidates who have been sentenced to over 12 months in prison for a crime, unless it has been at least three years since they have completed their sentence or have been pardoned.

He contested the decision with the Supreme Court, which ruled on Sunday morning that the opposition leader is ineligible to contest the election.

The decision was unanimous.

The EC had rejected Yameen’s candidacy based on two main factors; his criminal conviction, and his failure to settle the fine he was ordered to pay as part of his sentence.

Reading the verdict, Justice Husnu Al Suood said that Yameen does not meet the eligibility criteria declared on Article 109 of the Constitution.

He also said that though Yameen has appealed his sentence with the High Court, the sentence must be enforced as long as it is not overturned.

Suood said that the EC was therefore right in its decision to reject Yameen’s candidacy.

The full bench of the court agreed with Suood’s reasoning, agreeing that the commission was right to decide Yameen does not qualify for the election.

Yameen had also asked the Supreme Court to order an extension to the deadline for filing candidacy to allow PPM to produce an alternative candidate if he loses the case.

However, the court did not make a decision regarding the request, as the party still has until Monday to submit candidacy.

In addition to contesting the EC’s decision with the Supreme Court, Yameen had instructed PPM’s coalition partner, the People’s National Congress (PNC) to produce its own presidential candidate as a “backup.”

The PNC’s senate took a vote to decide its presidential candidate on Thursday, which was won by the Male’ City mayor Dr. Mohamed Muizzu.

However, the joint PPM-PNC leadership now say that PPM will produce an alternative candidate, and that supporting PNC’s candidate is a “third choice.”

PPM is expected to announce its new presidential candidate soon.

Source(s): sun.mv

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Developmental projects of Maldives progressing substantially

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India’s Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar has affirmed that the developmental projects of the Maldives carried out with the assistance of India have been progressing considerably. The remarks were made by the minister during the Confederation of Indian Industry (CIIs) Annual Business Summit.

Speaking at the summit, Minister Jaishankar stated that some developmental projects were slightly politically influenced, hindering the progress. However, he assured that the progress of the projects have propelled at a notable rate.

Following the Minister of Foreign Affairs Moosa Zameer’s official visit to India at the invitation of Minister Jaishankar, discussions were held highlighting the spectrum of initiatives across the nation has been kickstarted through loans and grants from the Government of India during the previous administration. He emphasised the current government’s commitment to prioritising the resumption and completion of these projects.

Meanwhile, the Government of India has reaffirmed its commitment to the development and prosperity of the Maldives by extending a budgetary support of USD 50 million to be repaid within a term of one year.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Police officers complete training to prevent maritime terrorism acts

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A team of 22 police officers has successfully completed a specialised training programme focused on thwarting maritime terrorism activities.

Entitled “Training on Strengthening Capabilities to Disrupt Maritime Crimes as Related to Terrorist Threats,” the program was conducted through a collaborative effort between the Maldives Police Service (MPS) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Running from May 13 to 15, the intensive training equipped participants with essential skills and knowledge crucial for combating threats in maritime environments.

The concluding ceremony, graced by the presence of Chief Superintendent of Police Ibrahim Adnan Anees, Head of Marine Police, along with senior officials from the Marine Police Department, UNODC’s Head of Office Enrico Boninsegna, and course instructor Kenneth Alferdo Pennington, highlighted the significance of such initiatives in enhancing national security.

Addressing the gathering, Adnan underscored the importance of ongoing education and skill development, urging participants to actively apply the knowledge garnered from the program in their professional endeavors.

The training, conducted at Dhoonidhoo, Kaafu Atoll, imparted vital insights into the prevention and detection of maritime terrorism activities, emphasizing protocols for safe navigation in high-risk areas. Furthermore, officers received guidance on investigative procedures essential for effectively addressing such crimes, thereby bolstering the nation’s capabilities in combating maritime threats.

Source(s): PsmNews

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President reverts land act amendment to parliament

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President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has reverted the Ninth Amendment Bill to the Maldives Land Act to Parliament for further consideration.

This bill, which seeks to establish criteria for recipients of residential land and mandates that land be allocated within three months of the publication of the permanent list of recipients in the gazette, was initially passed during the twenty-second sitting of Parliament’s first session this year and sent to the President’s Office for ratification on May 2.

In returning the bill, President Muizzu invoked Article 91(a) of the Constitution, which grants the President the authority to return legislation to Parliament for reconsideration.

The President’s Office has confirmed this, indicating the need for further review and potential revisions to the proposed amendment.

Source(s): PsmNews

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