All 188 candidates representing political parties in the upcoming parliamentary elections finished signing voter lists by noon today, Elections Commission (EC) Director General Mohamed Shakeel has confirmed.
Shakeel told Minivan News, however, that some independent candidates have not signed the final eligible voters registry.
Of the 114 independent candidates, the EC media official said 18 candidates have not signed the lists.
Aside from the 18 independent candidates failing to sign, Shakeel said the EC’s “preparations for the election are perfectly on schedule.”
He noted that the EC had decided to extend the period offered for candidates to complete signing the list to 12:00pm today.
The commission has yet to make a decision on a further extension, he added.
Candidates were invited to the Dharubaaruge convention centre during the weekend to sign off on the final lists.
Obtaining signatures of candidates on the voter lists used at polling stations was among the 16-point guideline imposed on the EC by the Supreme Court in its judgment annulling the September 7 presidential polls last year.
The EC was required to ensure that the voter lists are agreed upon as valid by candidates or their representatives ahead of the polls.
However, the local council elections on January 18 took place as scheduled despite candidates signing voter lists for just 81 out of 464 ballot boxes.
Of 543 independent candidates, only 147 candidates had signed the lists.
The 302 candidates contesting the second multi-party parliamentary elections meanwhile include 85 candidates from the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, 50 candidates from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives, 28 from the Jumhooree Party, 12 from the religious conservative Adhaalath Party, seven from the Maldives Development Alliance, and six from the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party.
The EC’s capacity to conduct the parliamentary polls as scheduled on March 22 was thrown into doubt last week following the Supreme Court’s controversial removal of EC Chair Fuwad Thowfeek and Deputy Chair Ahmed Fayaz for contempt of court.
Less than two weeks before the election, the dismissals left the EC without the three members required for a legal quorum to hold meetings and approve decisions.
However, on Wednesday (March 12), parliament approved Ismail Habeeb to the commission to replace former member Ibrahim ‘Ogaru’ Waheed, who had resigned in October citing poor health.
Following the vote to approve Habeeb, President Abdulla Yameen presented the letter of appointment to the former EC director on Thursday morning.
Shakeel noted today that the decision to extend the period for signing voter lists after the initial deadline expired at 10:00pm last night was made at a commission meeting.
The President’s Office welcomed parliament’s decision to approve Habeeb to the commission, noting that it “enables the EC to function with the legally required quorum and hold the general elections scheduled for 22 March 2014”.