"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less." –Alice in Wonderland
In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court this afternoon determined that the Election Commission's decision to accept Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's candidacy was constitutionally valid. The apex court gave this verdict while dismissing a case filed against the Commission by Social Liberal Party.
While delivering the verdict Chief Justice Abdullah Saeed said that in drafting Article 107 (Haa) of the Constitution the People's Special Majlis had not intended in spirit to bar those who had earlier served two terms. Incidentally Justice Saeed's declaration is in harmony with the statement DRP Zaeem Gayoom made on the issue at a party rally in Kalaafaanu School on January 18.
"People's Special Majlis has passed certain provisions in connection with my candidacy for the presidency…," Gayoom told his supporters, "In fact it was DRP members who proposed and voted for what was passed by the Special Majlis. No other party member voted for it. This shows what was passed was what DRP wanted. And it allows me to stand for the coming election as was your decision…"
This statement is however sharply out of tune with the 5th point of President Gayoom's (9 June 2004) reform agenda, which proposes "to limit the number of terms anyone can hold the office of president to two terms of five years."
In its law suit Social Liberal Party had argued that Gayoom's candidacy violated Article 107 of the Constitution, on the grounds that he has already served more than the 2 terms stipulated in the Article. But lawyers on behalf of the Election Commission and Gayoom responded saying the country has adopted a new Constitution, under which Gayoom can contest two more terms.
SLP lawyers had argued at length on the intention of the Article in limiting the terms of any president to two, saying that if Gayoom is allowed to run another two terms, the whole purpose of the painstaking reform process was in vain.
The decision of the Supreme Court is final on this matter. SLP leader ibra has in the meanwhile issued a statement saying he respected the Court's decision, even though he is not in agreement with it.