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Maldives court bars reinstatement of deputies as power tussle goes on

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By Mohamed Junayd

MALE (Reuters) – Maldives’s Supreme Court cancelled an order on Thursday to reinstate a dozen opposition lawmakers, the latest development in president-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s attempts to wrest control of parliament from outgoing president Abdulla Yameen.

On Wednesday, the country’s election commission reinstated parliamentarians who had lost their seats after they defected from Yameen’s party and joined the opposition in July.

But the Supreme Court stepped in late on Wednesday, saying it was hearing numerous petitions regarding the seats and until it reaches decisions on them the status of the MPs shouldn’t change.

“Until judgements are delivered by the court, the election commission does not have the authority to make decisions on their status,” the court said in its order.

Maldives has faced political upheaval since February, when Yameen imposed a state of emergency to annul a Supreme Court ruling that quashed convictions of nine opposition leaders. But he lost his re-election bid last month, and the opposition has been trying to reclaim political ground ever since.

Last weekend, a local court granted bail to former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who had imprisoned by Yameen on allegations of trying to topple his government.

The Supreme Court decision not to bring back the opposition MPs means Yameen’s party retains a majority in parliament. Elections are due in March 2019.

(Writing by Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; editing by Sanjeev Miglani, Larry King)

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