EC: Political activities important, but must be held within confines of law

Opposition PPM-PNC coalition holds a protest in Male' City on July 28, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Elections Commission said on Wednesday that while political activities are important in order to hold the government accountable, political parties must conduct such activities within the confines of the law.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, the Elections Commission said that while political activities are important, political parties must ensure that such activities are held in accordance with the Constitutions, laws, regulations and guidelines as declared under Article 7 of the Political Parties Act.

Elections Commission noted in the statement that Maldives is currently facing a surge in coronavirus cases amid a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The commission therefore appealed for political parties to conduct their activities in accordance with the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly Act, the Public Health Protection Act, and instructions issued by Health Protection Agency under the Act.

Greater public movement following the relaxation of many of the lockdown measures has led to a surge in coronavirus cases. An increasing number of new coronavirus cases are unlinked to existing clusters, which health authorities warn indicates a wide community spread.

Maldives recorded 137 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, marking the biggest single-day spike of coronavirus cases to be recorded in Maldives in nearly two months, increasing total coronavirus cases to 3,506.

Elections Commission’s statement comes as the opposition coalition, composed of PPM and PNC, launched a series of protests in Male’ City demanding the release of opposition leader, former Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, who is serving a five-year sentence for money laundering.

The police have also issued a statement appealing for freedom of expression to be exercised in an “appropriate” manner in light of the coronavirus outbreak situation in the country.