Elections Commission (EC) President Fuwad Thowfeek has told Minivan News he does not believe it is possible to expedite the fresh round of presidential elections – currently scheduled for November 9 – despite requests to do so from the government and the three presidential candidates.
The candidates held a meeting on Sunday evening, agreeing to ask the EC for a November 2 poll. The EC, however, rejected the request stating that the commission does not have the facilities to do so in such a short period of time.
Vice President Mohamed Waheed Deen held discussions with the EC today (October 29), requesting – on behalf of the government – that the election date be brought forward.
Meeting at the EC offices, in addition to asking for an expedited poll, Waheed Deen enquired as to whether the EC needed further support to go forward with early elections.
“I have come here today to ask the EC what the government can do for them, whether we need to empty out some state institutions and give the EC extra space, or find more staff members for them,” Waheed Deen is quoted as saying to local media.
The Vice President is further quoted as saying that the commission members came across as being “very positive” in today’s meeting, and that they would get back to the government “very soon” with a list of what they require.
Waheed Deen further said that although he understands that there are some difficulties in bringing the polling date ahead from November 9th to the 2nd, he believed that it is possible to hold elections “somewhere around the 5th”.
President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad told Minivan News today that he has not received any information on the matter.
Earlier this afternoon, he was quoted in local media as confirming that the government had decided to give all possible assistance to the EC to speed up the preparations.
Masood was further quoted as saying that the government would like elections to be held in a manner which is in the best interests of the nation and to elect a president by November 11.
Earlier poll impossible, regardless of additional resources: Thowfeek
EC President Fuwad Thowfeek, however, feels that there is no possibility of bringing the date forward regardless of the support promised.
“In today’s meeting, we did provide them with all possible information that they requested for. However, since this is something we do together with the citizens, I do not believe it will be possible to bring the polling date forward, despite the offer to provide us with more resources, funds, equipment or manpower,” Fuwad told Minivan News today.
The EC announced November 9 as the date for a fresh first round of elections after the police forcibly brought a Supreme Court ordered re-vote to a halt on October 19.
The commission said then at the timea that if a second round was necessary, it would be held on November 16, 5 days after the date constitutionally mandated date for the swearing in of a new elected president.
At the time, EC President Fuwad Thowfeek said that the commission had held discussions with the president, the cabinet, and political parties on the earliest possible date for a new election before deciding on the date.
“We have said, when we get to a certain point, when a certain party doesn’t do what they must do, it should not affect the entire election. If that is the case, we will never be able to hold an election,” he said then, referring to the police obstruction of polls after Progressive Party of Maldives candidate Abdulla Yameen and Jumhooree coalition candidate Gasim Ibrahim failed to sign on the voters’ registry as mandated by the Supreme Court’s 16 point guideline.
“They assured us that they will not allow for these kind of obstructions in the upcoming election. Ministers have given us commitment that they will find a solution and facilitate this. That is why we have started work again.”