“Unreasonable and unacceptable” to demand changes to agreed election date: Commonwealth Special Envoy

The Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Sir Donald McKinnon has declared it is “unreasonable and unacceptable” for parties to continue demanding changes to the agreed election date.

McKinnon’s comments follow Abdulla Yameen’s refusal to sign the voter lists in a bid to delay Sunday’s run-off vote to November 13.

Early results from today’s revote show Yameen receiving a decisive lead over third-placed candidate Gasim Ibrahim, receiving approximate 30 percent of the vote – a five percent improvement on his performance in the Supreme Court’s annulled poll. The result pitches him against former President Mohamed Nasheed, who appears to have increased his 45.45 percent vote to approximately 47 percent.

The Elections Commission and the candidates previously agreed to a run-off on Sunday November 10, with polls due to open in just seven hours from time of press.

However as the final boxes began to be counted, Yameen called a press conference and declared “no, the election is not going to happen tomorrow. The simple reason being that the Elections Commission is not prepared for that. The Elections Commission does not have a list that has been pre-signed by the candidates. What they have is a fresh list. So a fresh list for us to review and sign, for verification we need at least 48 hours. So the list they have we are not sure whether that is the list they had for today’s voting. Until and unless we are able to ascertain that this is the same list, we are unable to sign that.”

Yameen said the election can take place “as soon as we are able to verify the list. We have asked for something like 48 hours, because we are talking in excess of about 240,000 people. So soon as the Elections [Commission] is able to provide us this timeframe we are prepared to go to an election. Hopefully any time within the range of November 13 to 15. Any time after November 13 we are happy.”

He added that he would be sitting down with Gasim and the Adhaalath Party tomorrow to discuss their supporting him against Nasheed, and claimed to have already received their endorsement.

Commonwealth Special Envoy Mckinnon responded: “Voters deserve better from their leaders and a greater degree of predictability over something as serious as a presidential election.”

“It is important now that the electoral process move forward swiftly to its conclusion, with the holding of the second round. Any further delays would create uncertainty for the voters, place extra demands on the Elections Commission and lower people’s confidence in the country’s democratic institutions,” he said.

“All initial reports suggest that this was a good election, and I look forward to hearing the more definitive reports of domestic and international observers shortly. The Elections Commission should be commended for its consistency in delivering another well-managed and credible election,” he added.

Speaking at a press conference earlier today, Elections Commission President Fuwad Thowfeek said representatives from the PPM arrived to sign the new voter lists in the early hours of Saturday morning but left at 7:30am and did not return.

While the PPM initially wanted to sign all the lists, Fuwad said they later sent a letter saying they wanted to sign only the changed lists.

Voter lists to be used for the second round scheduled for tomorrow changed after re-registration of about 1,500 voters for the second round, who would be distributed among different polling stations.

“It looks as if they are not so keen on fulfilling their duties and responsibilities. Signing these lists is a duty given to candidates and their representatives by the Supreme Court,” he said.

Supreme Court in another midnight sitting

Meanwhile, shortly before midnight, the Supreme Court began hearing a case submitted by Gasim’s Jumhoree Party demanding that the run-off election be cancelled and rescheduled. However any delay would push the country past the expiry of the presidential term on November 11, a scenario that today drew rumblings of discontent from the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).

While the Supreme Court today in a separate ruling upheld its previous insistence that Waheed would stay on after November 11, Waheed himself has declared he has no wish to do so.

MDP candidate Mohamed Nasheed meanwhile congratulated the PPM on its performance in Saturday’s poll, and said his party was ready to face polls on Sunday.

“My view is that if we don’t have elections [on Sunday]there is a serious risk of indefinite delay as now President Waheed is being asked to stay on by the Supreme Court. Our opponents know that they will lose in a fair fight,” he told Minivan News.

“In my view if the international community says that they will not recognise Waheed after November 11 then we will have elections. Then again it’s very difficult to see the international community doing the right thing – we are in this mess because they recognised a rebel government in February 2012.”


15 thoughts on ““Unreasonable and unacceptable” to demand changes to agreed election date: Commonwealth Special Envoy”

  1. Both Yamin and Gasim Ibrahim are representatives of Gayoom's dictatorial tradition. They want to re-capture for themselves the gains of the Maldives' nascent democracy. They want to re-establish the old dictatorship.

    They want to immobilise the Election Commission and bring it under their control.

    They also want to re-establish Gayoom-type rubber-stamp Legislature.

    PPM and JP have two powerful allies within the Maldivian establishment. We all know who they are. They are pitted against MDP, DRP and a few others.

    There will be a fight between the two sides until one side or the other wins. Dictatorship has an advantage in the Maldives in this kind of fight. They have been in power in the country for so long: centuries.

    Political awareness in the country is rather low, particularly outside Male. Propaganda made under Gayoom rule still blind many people to the real nature of democracy.Many people believe Gayoom's ideas constituted the really real democracy.

  2. Dr Waheed. We are ready to vote tomorrow. We expect you to honour your agreement to fascilitate the second round of Presidential Elections tomorrow, 10 November.

    Be your word. Keep the promises you made to the three Presidential candidates, the Elections Commission, the people of the Maldives and the International Community.

    If you don't have the integrity to deliver on your word, you should leave the office of the President . Now.

  3. The Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Sir Donald McKinnon has declared it is “unreasonable and unacceptable” for parties to continue demanding changes to the agreed election date.

    Well, what are you going to do about this, Sir Don McKinnon!

  4. Getting the names checked as to whether it is the same list as last time is a very simple task that any database program - including Excel - can do.

    Ironically, anyone who has actually practised economics, on any statistical package, will know just how easy this is.

    Here's a solution - why don't PPM and MDP agree on an independent third party foreign consultant to do this check - if there are discrepancies - delay it further. If not, hold it day after tomorrow.

    Come on Mr. Yameen - you say you're an economist, act like one.

  5. The most honorable thing for Gasim to do and save his face at the same time is not to support any of the candidates and declare that he is neutral. He can tell his supporters to make their own mind up based on the merits of Nasheed and Yameen.

    I think deep down that's what Gasim would want to do anyway. Gasim doesn't gain anything by supporting Yameen. As for Nasheed, Gasim has publicly spoken out too much against Nasheed that to public support him would lose Gasim some face. So best option is to remain neutral.

  6. The Supreme Court has once again meddled in the election process and the duties of the Elections Commission. The Supreme Court has absolutely no power to recommend, impose or otherwise restrict dates and times when elections can be held. Since it's quite evident that Yameen doesn't have enough support to win, the Supreme Court is being used to gain time and further frustrate the democratic process.

    Seriously, there is no point in MDP contesting in the 2nd round. The best course of action is for MDP and all their supporters to boycott the elections and call for very serious sanctions on the regime until the country's Constitution can be restored.

    The country is being ruled by a handful of people using the Supreme Court as a proxy! Yameen can compete against himself like his brother did for 30 years. Let's see what that does.

  7. once again majority of Maldivian had clearly said no dictator Nasheed.

    International community must know this fact and they should know that they can not implant thier puppet against the will of the people.

  8. @Hero You are correct. International community can't put their puppet. But the Supreme Court of Maldives can.

  9. These judges are acting like they are untouchables. Wonder how good their security is.

  10. hero!! just how many people said NO to JP and NO to PPM (a lot more than 50%)and why are they so reluctant to go again? more dirty tricks to plan ganging up like bullies to get their way whatever the cost to the people.

  11. Mode,it wont come to that. Dr Waheed will resign tonight if not today. And if he doesnt, and wants to sit in the office of the President, let him do that. The country will be governed by an interim government headed by Speaker Shahid.

  12. @hero. Over 95000 people voted for Raees Nasheed. Why are you making that your business? This is a democracy. How about you accept that reality and respect our right to vote for who we wish .

  13. @hero. Over 96000 people voted for Raees Nasheed. Why are you making that your business? This is a democracy. How about you accept that reality and respect our right to vote for who we wish .

  14. Your lack of real action on behalf of the Commonwealth is also 'unreasonable and unacceptable,' Sir Donald.

  15. @ Michael Fahmy
    Good-judgments Mr.Fahamy , think your visions of what happened in Maldives is absolutely correct ,
    I can see you have a very well inside information about the country.


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