A second round of voting will take place for the fifth and final seat on five island councils after an equal number of votes were received for some candidates, though no other ballots from this month’s local elections will be re-contested without a court ruling, the Elections Commission (EC) has said.
EC Vice President Ahmed Hassan Fayaz confirmed that registered constituents would be able to return to polling stations in Baa atoll Kihaadhoo, Raa atoll Dhuvaafaru, Gaaf Alif atoll Kolamaafushi, Haa Dhaal atoll Kumundhoo, and Meemu atoll Veyvah to reselect a fifth respective council candidate on 12 March 2011.
Fayaz claimed that every island taking part in this month’s elections was required to pick five candidates to sit on their respective councils. However, he added that recounts were required in five of these constituencies solely between the fifth and sixth placed candidates who received an equal number of votes.
“Effectively they were tied within these constituencies, so according to the law, the fifth and sixth placed candidates will have to be voted on again,” he said.
The ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had previously alleged that voting was unfairly conducted by the EC in terms of favouring certain political parties and called on recounts of a second round of voting in some constituencies.
The constituencies included Haa Alifu Atoll Kela, Raa Atoll Ungoofaaru, Noonu Atoll Miladhoo, Manadhoo, Laamu Atoll Gan and Maabidhoo.”
However, Fayaz told Minivan News today that there would not be any additional voting for this month’s local council elections conducted without a court ruling.
The comments came after the High Court of the Maldives issued an injunction on the announcement of official results of Haa Alifu Atoll Kela ballot box number A05.06.01. The injunction was made after the filing of a case alleging that the EC had violated the Elections Act and the Elections Commission Act.
The High Court said that if the official results of the H.A Kela Atoll and Island Council were announced, it could violate the rights of several citizens and requested the announcement of ballots be delayed until ordered otherwise. The High Court did not reveal who filed the case in the court.
Major disruption to voting occurred on the island of approximately 2200 people, when clashes between islanders, police and election officials forced authorities to evacuate the ballot box to Hanimadhoo.
The EC has said it will respect the High Court ruling and any others made in the future.
Despite its criticism of the elections process, the MDP released a statement claiming it had calculated the popular vote in the local council elections as 44 percent MDP, 40 percent DRP, based on current available data.
The popular vote reflects the overall political preference of voters, and has not yet been released by the Elections Commission (EC). The MDP said it produced the figures based on data published by the EC on its website at the time.
Both parties declared victory and were celebrating last week after the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) won a decisive seat majority in the local council elections, while the MDP won control of major population hubs.