The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has said the party’s candidate Abdulla Yameen will not sign the voters’ registry until it has assured itself the list is free of any errors, claiming there were “numerous existing issues” with it.
“We will not sign a bundle of papers held out to us by the Elections Commission (EC) without having seen for ourselves what exactly is in them,” PPM Deputy Leader and MP Abdulla Abdul Raheem stated at a press conference held on Friday.
“EC has failed to respond to the numerous complaints and concerns we have raised with them. It is impossible to hold a free and fair election until the EC complies with the regulations ordered by the Supreme Court. I don’t believe the EC should act in the way it has, sending letters to candidates at 2.30 in the morning asking them to come sign the register. We know that there are still thousands who have not been registered rightly,” he alleged.
PPM coalition member Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) Deputy Leader and MP Ahmed Amir stated that they had submitted a total of 32 separate letters of concern to the EC, adding that they have not received satisfactory responses for any of them.
“Kenereege Mohamed Nasheed [Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Presidential Candidate] who speaks of being an advocate of democracy and rights, just rushed into the EC as soon as they asked for signatures and signed the register without at all checking it. My question to Nasheed is, how responsible a decision was that,” said Abdul Raheem.
Nasheed is as of yet the only candidate to have signed off voters’ register for tomorrow’s election, stating yesterday that the party had identified only a “negligible” 0.61 percent margin of error.
“As per the information received till now, at least 3000 people have been registered wrong in this list,” Raheem declared.
“It is absolute proof that we are working in the interests of protecting people’s rights as even while knowing that if an election is held on Saturday we are guaranteed to win, we are stepping back and asking EC to protect the rights of every citizen,” Amir added.
PPM leadership figure Aneesa Yoosuf added that despite numerous requests by the party to ensure the voter registry is approved by all candidates, the EC has failed to do so to date.
“We want to somewhat verify fingerprints too, even if of randomly chosen names. Otherwise, what is the point of the SC order asking for fingerprint verification? Someone needs to do it,” Aneesa said.
“We cannot agree that the voters’ register is acceptable. We will sign it once it reaches the point where we are satisfied with it,” she stated.
“We are willing to go ahead with elections any day as soon as it can be guaranteed that the register is acceptable. We will not work to delay the elections. No one will benefit from such a delay. We too want an elected President to be sworn in on November 11,” she said.
At a press conference this morning EC Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek said the JP and PPM had not sent nominees to sign the registry by the deadline.
Thowfeek said he had contacted Supreme Court Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz about the lack of response from the two candidates: “He told me to keep trying. Send people to their homes and keep trying. He did not say what else we should do.”
PPM calls on EC members to resign in “national interest”
PPM Deputy Leader Raheem accused the EC of “deliberately doing all they can to handover the presidency to the MDP.”
“I don’t believe that the current team of elections commissioners can conduct a free and fair election. I call on the commissioners, if they have even a trace of sincerity, to immediately resign for the sake of national interest,” Raheem said.
“We strongly condemn Nasheed’s acts, in alliance with the EC, to undermine people’s democratic rights,” added Amir from the MDA.
“The truth of the matter is that the EC is attempting to not hold elections on October 19,” he alleged.
President Mohamed Waheed has meanwhile issued a statement urging parties “not to act in a fashion that obstructs holding of the election and to prioritise national interest over personal interest”.
“I call on the elections commission, political parties participating in the election and all relevant institutions together, to solve the challenges faced at the moment to create an atmosphere conducive to a free and fair election,” Waheed stated.