JUST IN: Supreme Court rules to uphold EC decision on Yameen’s candidacy

Former President Yameen Abdul Qayyoom during the Supreme Court hearing

MALDIVES – Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s candidate for the upcoming presidential election 2023 and former president of Maldives Abdulla Yameen Abdul Qayyoom does not meet the requirements to run for president, ruled the Supreme Court today.

The ruling was made in consensus of all seven Supreme Court judges during a hearing held this morning following an initial hearing on Friday afternoon, after Yameen escalated the Election Commission’s decision to reject his candidacy to the court.

Yameen’s candidacy application was initially rejected by the Elections Commission on the basis that he is currently serving an 11 year prison sentence on bribery and money laundering charges. The Commission also stated in an amended second notice sent to PPM that Yameen also has a debt of USD five million in unpaid fines relating to the same charges.

According to the Maldivian constitution, any candidate contesting in the presidential elections must have passed at least three years since the completion of their sentence or since they were pardoned, should they have been convicted of criminal charges in the past. However, Yameen’s legal team argued that the context of this section of the constitution refers to rulings of courts which cannot be further appealed, and stated that since the convictions are being appealed in High Court, there is a chance that the ruling may be over turned and set him free.

However, today’s hearing concluded with all seven judges of the Supreme Court ruling in favour of the Elections Commission’s decision to reject Yameen’s candidacy.

(More details in the time to come)