Former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom slammed the Elections Commission (EC) President Fuad Thaufeeq, following a letter forwarded by the commission, requesting Gayoom clarify his claim that “election results do not turn out the way people vote”.
“Fuad misinterpreted my words,” Gayoom alleged in his response letter to the EC on Sunday night. “By claiming that I spoke in an irresponsible manner, [Fuad] has damaged the people’s trust in me”, he continued.
He also defended the remarks, pointing out that he did not say that the results do not turn out the way people want “because of the Election Commission’s actions”.
Gayoom made the remarks at a meeting of opposition Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) on Thursday, after reiterating the PPM interim council’s decision advising against MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla’s intention to resign and contest for the Laamu Fonadhoo seat on a PPM ticket.
“I know that if he resigns he will be re-elected on a comfortable majority on a PPM ticket,” Gayoom said. “I don’t doubt that at all. However, we know the state of affairs in the country right now – election results do not turn out the way people vote. So what are we going to do?”
Following the remarks, the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) released a statement condemning Gayoom’s remarks, contending that it was an attempt to “bring the Elections Commission, an independent institution, into disrepute, turn the public against it and plunge the nation into a pit of discord and conflict.”
The statement noted that former Elections Commissioners were directly appointed by Gayoom while island chiefs “hovered around ballot boxes.”
The EC also conceded that Gayoom’s remarks damaged the people’s confidence in the institution.
Fuad Thaufeeq told Minivan News on Sunday that the commission was “shocked” to hear the remarks and wanted to understand the reasons as to why Gayoom made such a claim.
In its letter, the EC asked Gayoom whether he had made the remarks because vote rigging was involved during his 30-year tenure as the President.
Fuad noted that the comments implying vote rigging have “provided reason for people to look at the commission with doubt” as it came from the former President, who has many supporters and currently leads the third largest political party in Maldives. “That is why we wanted him to clarify the claims”, says Fuad.
Meanwhile, in a press statement issued by PPM, the party claimed that the commission has not taken action against the people who have disgraced the commission’s integrity in the past.
Referring to the letter sent to Gayoom, PPM alleged that the EC’s actions imply that the commission is getting “personal” with PPM.