Photo: President Nasheed (Right) with his close friend and MDP financier Musthafa (left – wearing yellow tie)
Addressing an MDP rally at the Artificial Beach on Tuesday night, MDP Parliamentary Group leader and Party voice Reeko Moosa Maniku called on the High Court to expedite a ruling on the case involving the Thimarafushi Constituency vote. Moosa repeatedly claimed that the TC seat belonged to the MDP, and warned of civil unrest if a court ruling went against the MDP candidate.
MDP pg group leader Moosa’s warning of civil unrest follows an arson assault on the family home of one of the key witnesses who gave testimony against MDP activities during the voting in Thimarafushi .
The case against the Elections Commission was lodged with the High Court by DRP candidate Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon, requesting an overturn of the election results of both ballot boxes and an order for a re-vote. 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 appeal stated that, voting on Thimarafushi island took place under intimidation, threat and violence by supporters of MDP candidate Musthafa. Also unpopular for his management of the infamous local mafia addaa Mercufy Café, Musthafa is also a financier of MDP activities and close friend and ally of President Mohamed Nasheed.
Local media reports that the MDP candidate Musthafa’s supporters hijacked the ballot boxes twice during the voting process by rushing the voting area and forcing 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. Ghassan’s observers were also prevented from attending the ballot counting. In addition, when the ballot box was sealed after counting, some ballots had been left outside the box. Other reports also validate those elections officials responsible for the election administration in the constituency refused to accept the Thimarafushi ballot box because the seal was broken when it reached them.
At the Court Hearing on Sunday, presiding Judge Ali Hameed specifically questioned the Elections Commission on irregularities in signatures on the elections results sheet, irregularities in the handover process of the ballot box to Elections Commission officials and on the issue of 115 ballot papers that were missing from the box.
Upon close questioning, Deputy Elections Commissioner Hussain Siraj admitted that the 155 ballot papers missing from the ballot box had disappeared before the ballot box had reached the Commission. Hussain Siraj is one of the lead lawyers of President Mohamed Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party. The Elections Commissions also admitted violation of regulations on all three issues at the court hearing last Sunday.