Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed’s candidate for the post of Speaker of Parliament, his cousin by marriage and childhood crony Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is not a legitimate candidate for the post as his parliamentary seat is not confirmed yet. Although the Maldives Elections Commission hastened to declare Ibrahim Mohamed Solih the winner in the Hinnavaru Constituency, it did so while the Maldives High Court was deliberating a case to nullify the EC provisional result and hold a fresh vote in that constituency. If the High Court declares in favour of the prosecution, Solih will be out of parliament, and have to contest a fresh vote.
The Hinnavaru case was filed in the High Court earlier this month by independent candidate for the constituency Ahmed Shareed Abdul Rahman Yousuf. The EC results show Solih leading Shareef by a marginal 95 votes. Shareef has submitted evidence to court of several incidents that took place in the Hinnavaru Constituency during voting that was against the law. These include incidents of under age people who were allowed to vote, a person who voted twice and a vote cast into the Hinnavaru ballot box in the name of a person who was abroad on the day of the elections. Shareef told press that all these violations had been filed timely with the Elections Complaints Bureau on voting day, but that zero action had been taken by them.
Given that Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s Hinnavaru seat is not legitimately confirmed yet, ruling party Maldivian Democratic Party may be going through a wasted exercise today in trying to elect him as Speaker. However, President Nasheed’s support for Solih is not in question as he is Nasheed’s childhood best friend who married his cousin Fazna. Fazna is the daughter November 3rd convicted terrorist Bodu Sikka, Anni’s uncle and top advisor. Solih was also one of the first inductees into MDP by Nasheed and relied upon heavily by Nasheed to keep him informed of MDP top leadership’s activities.
MDP informants also report that Solih is a ‘very close personal friend’ of MDP Chairperson Mariya Didi. Solih, who headed Nasheed’s interim team during the handover of the presidency, has an established office within the President’s Office and continues to work there in contravention of the law which states that MPs cannot hold any other post of the state.
It is glaringly obvious that Nasheed, highly insecure within his own party following proven cases of vote fraud and rigging in his win over opponent Dr. Mohamed Munavvar in MDP’s internal elections, has elected for Solih because he does not trust any other MDP MP to run the parliament according to his orders. Other potential candidates amongst the MDP MP cohort include MP for Hulhuhenveryru constituency and previous MDP Whip Reeko Moosa Maniku, MDP Chairperson MP Maria Didi, MP for Faafu Bilehdhdhoo Ahmed Hamza (now proposed as Deputy Speaker), and Addu MP Mohamed Aslam.
The decision to propose as Speaker President Nasheed’s cousin by marriage Solin, an MP whose parliamentary seat is not legitimate, also demonstrates the iron control President Nasheed still holds over his party. This iron control has unfortunately not been used to control his party’s continued harassment and intimidation of the general populace following its resounding rejection of Nasheed and the MDP on May 9th at the parliamentary polls.