Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon, the DRP candidate for the Thaa Atoll Thimarafushi constituency, today lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court requesting it to overturn the election results of both ballot boxes in Thaa Thimarafushi, and to order the Elections Commission to hold voting for those two ballot boxes again. The appeal also requested that a stay order be issued to the EC to withhold announcement of preliminary results of these boxes until the Supreme Court took a decision on the matter.
Ghassan Maumoon’s key complaint is that voting on Thimarafushi island took place under intimidation, threat and violence by supporters of MDP candidate Musthafa. Media have reported arson attacks on a fishing vessel owned by a Ghassan supporter, vandalism and theft on Ghassan’s campaign office and physical attacks on his supporters.
Media reports that Musthafa’s supporters hijacked the Thimarafushi ballot boxes twice during the voting process by rushing the voting area and forcing the elections officials and Ghassan’s observers out of the area. After a lengthy delay during which the ballot box was in the hands of Musthafa’s supporters, ballot counting proceeded under police supervision. However, Ghassan’s observers were prevented from attending the ballot counting. In addition, when the ballot box was sealed after counting, some ballots had been left outside the box. These were noticed later by an elections official. Other reports also validate that elections officials at the Thaa Veymandoo refused to accept the Thimarafushi ballot box because the seal was broken when it reached them.
Ghassan Maumoon is the youngest son of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and together with his uncle Yameen Abdul Gayoom (People’s Alliance leader and PA candidate for Meemu Atoll constituency), has from the beginning of his election race has been a prime target of President Nasheed’s vocal anti campaign. Throughout the election run up Ghassan’s supporters have faced personal and family threats and intimidation from MDP supporters both in Male’ and in his constituency. Ghassan Maumoon is an educated young man, currently pursuing his PhD from the University of London, where he completed his Bachelors Degree and Masters Degree.
Ghasaan’s MDP opponent Musthafa (commonly known as Thimarafushi Musthafa) is the well known ganglord and loan shark who ran the infamous Mercury Light Café, the hideout of MDP’s criminal elements. Musthafa is also presently under investigation for criminal offences by the Prosecutor General’s office. The Prosecutor General office announced on 26th April that it was investigating the matter of bounced cheques issued by Musthafa. If found guilty, Musthafa would not be eligible to be an MP.
The Supreme Court is expected to hold a hearing on the appeal within the next two days.