The Elections Commission (EC) has hit back at criticism from several political parties, rejecting claims of discrimination against the parties.
In a press conference on Thursday, EC members and department heads claimed that the commission fully abides by laws and regulation, while undertaking the tasks mandated to the commission.
“We do not favor or provide any advantages to any political party,” EC Vice President Ahmed Fayaz contended.
EC made the comments following claims by both the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) that the commission was discriminating against the parties.
Speaking at the press conference, EC Director General Ahmed Tholal refuted claims made by MDP, which has complained that that the EC discriminates against the party when processing forms of party membership.
He clarified that the commission was processing the party membership forms based on the date of submission and assured that all the parties are treated equally.
“All the forms are processed as soon as they are submitted,” Tholal said, irrespective of which party it comes from.
EC President Fuad Thaufeeq meanwhile restated that the commission was not discriminating against PPM, while making an inquiry into the recent claim made by its leader Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom that “vote results does not turn out the way people want”.
Fuad noted that the issue has been resolved as Gayoom had later clarified in a letter to the EC that he did not imply that the commission is responsible for it.
However, PPM alleges EC of tarnishing peoples’ confidence in Gayoom and discriminating against the party.
PPM’s media committee president Mohamed Hussain ‘Mundhu’ Shareef has pointed out that court orders calling for a re-count of votes and deeming results of the first parliamentary elections under the 2009 constitution were false and suggest major flaws within the commission.
However, Shareef said that political parties have been asked to support the assumedly independent commission in carrying out certain duties.
“The delay in passing the political party bill is causing difficulties for EC, they have requested us (political parties) to expedite it, and EC also admitted having administrative problems,” he was quoted as saying to local media.
MDP Deputy Chairperson Mohamed ‘Inthi’ Imthiyaz meanwhile told local media that “some important decisions are made without discussing with all the parties and this is now how the commission should function.”
Inthi added that the EC had admitted its shortcomings and intends to resolve them.
MDP has also expressed concern that former secretary general of People’s Alliance Ahmed Shareef is inappropriately entrusted with EC’s administrative duties.
However, EC members countered that the commission is transparent, and functions do not discriminate against any party and are not subject to party influence.
All elections are free and fair and is conducted in the presence of political parties, independent observers and the media, they asserted.