Elections Commissioner slams Supreme Court, police, PPM, JP over annulment of first round

Elections Commission President Fuwad Thowfeek has criticised the Supreme Court, the government, the police, Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and the Jumhooree Party (JP) over the annulment of the first round of presidential elections held on September 7, the Supreme Court’s 16 guidelines for a revote and halt of the elections hours before the polls were due to open on Saturday morning.

Speaking on the Maldives Broadcasting Corporation’s (MBC) Raajje Miadhu (Maldives Today) program, Thowfeek said the Supreme Court annulled the first round of elections based on non credible and “bizarre” evidence. Thowfeek described the Supreme Court’s 16 guidelines as “restrictions” and called for a return to the time periods and tasks outlined in the Constitution and elections laws when a revote is held again.

President Mohamed Waheed Hassan has asked for an election on October 26, but Thowfeek said such a date was “impossible.” The Elections Commission is now considering either November 2 or 9 as dates for a new election.

“We agree we can hold elections on November 9. We believe it is important to see if we can hold an election on November 2. Because then, we can hold a second round by November 9,” Thowfeek said.

“We will do all we can to hold a presidential election. A presidential election needs to be held for the nation’s future to become clear. We need and appeal for the support of all political parties, citizens and government institutions to hold a new election,” Thowfeek added.

Below are excerpts from the interview:

Possibility of an election on October 26

“Not possible. Not possible. Everything one wants to do is not possible to do. If they had been wiser, we wouldn’t be in this situation today. But this situation is here now. And no doubt, there are parties who have to shoulder responsibility.”

Supreme Court’s annulment of the first round held on September 7:

“The first round was free, fair and transparent. However, in quite bizarre events, the case was submitted to the Supreme Court and the [vote] was annulled. The government and the PPM [Progressive Party of the Maldives] advocated in support of the Jumhoree Party who filed the case.

“The [Supreme Court] annulled the vote on bizarre evidence. For example, a person called Mohamed Waheed Hassan, may have his name on ID card as Mohamed Waheed. When we gave him the right to vote, they counted it as a fraudulent vote. But the ID card number, address, date of birth and photo is the same. About 1900 of these cases were identified. A person called Mariyam Waheeda, may have her name spelled as Maryam on one list and Mariyam on the other. We know it is Mariyam Waheeda. We know it is the same person, the date of birth is exact, the ID card number is the same, photo shows it is the right person. When we give these people the right to vote, [the Supreme Court] has said that is giving the right to vote to a person who doesn’t have the right to vote.

“Similarly, the problem of address, it is quite weird. I could have made my ID card when I was on the Haajaraage registry, but when I change my address to [Thalhamathuge], the ID I have is the previous ID [with a different address]. Even though I am now registered at Thalhamathuge, I still have the same ID card number, same date of birth, same photo. It is very clear it is the same person. We gave the right to vote to these people. And when we did that, [the election] has been annulled. Even if a person who has mismatches in address, if they go to vote with their passport, they can vote [passports do not have addresses on them]. There are over 2800 cases of address mismatches. They invalidated the election based on such evidence, and ordered a revote.

“Everyone knows, anyone who is responsible knows, what the Constitution says, who has jurisdiction over such cases, which court. However, outside of the law, they have submitted the case to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court accepted the case and annulled the vote. They paved the path to today’s situation. This is very sad. But we need to go forward one way or another.”

Police role in halting elections on October 19

“The government assured us of its full support for a new election. But this assurance is not new. The government has always assured us of its support, and they have provided support [at times]. However, but when we are about to hold the election, we see the election being stopped. This time, it is the police who have stopped the election. It is the people who are supposed to prevent others from obstructing the election, who have obstructed the election today. The police were also ordered to provide protection, security of ballot boxes and papers. The police stopped the election using the excuse that all three candidates did not sign the voter registry. But the Supreme Court verdict does not give the police the authority to oversee that.

“The police refused to provide security. The verdict clearly says the police must accompany the ballot boxes and papers to the polling stations. But last night the police said they will not facilitate the process. If we dispatch the boxes without police cooperation, then the Supreme Court has the space to annul the election [again]. In addition to that, in the morning, when our officials left the office with documents, papers, ballot boxes, they stopped them. [They said elections officials] did not have the permission to leave the Elections Commission. They stopped the election. The police officers told our elections officials they had been ordered to stop anyone from leaving the Elections Commission building with any documents relating to the election. I know if [EC officials] had tried to disobey and leave, [the police] would have obstructed them, physically stopped them. The [EC officials] did not attempt to disobey, but they did ask the police why. And a sergeant there said this is what they had been ordered to do. They did not allow EC officials to leave the building with documents.

“I also believe, holding an election is something we must absolutely do. We must start work again to hold an election. A lot of money has been wasted. Approximately RF 30 million was spent on the annulled first round. For the second round, we spent RF 27 million and that election was forcibly stopped. And now, in this round, approximately over RF 25 million has been spent. I do not know the exact figures. We have to start again. It is a huge expense. We want the certainty, we must get the certainty that this time, when the work is completed, anyone, whether it is the police or anyone else, cannot stop the election. The defense minister has assured us of this. That there will be no obstruction in the upcoming work. But there is a higher authority than [the government], the Supreme Court. If there is a Supreme Court order [to halt elections], it will not be easy to find a solution. And also, most of the time, the Supreme Court issues orders at midnight. And it is not easy for an ordinary person to challenge such an order at that time. Hence, it is not easy to hold an election now. In addition to this, the Supreme Court 16 guidelines delineated in the verdict are restrictions. These are locks, blocks. With those locks, it will be very difficult for us to hold elections. But if we could hold an election according to the Constitution, Elections Laws and Presidential Elections laws, we will be able to hold a free election.”

Government’s role in next election [President Waheed appointed Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim as his representative on holding new elections]

“I do not know what Nazim’s role is. I was informed he is the government’s representative in this. I believe [his role] is to find agreement on the disputes between all the candidates. Some candidates have demands, and if we were to fulfill those demands, it will take more than a month. For example, one of PPM’s demands is to select a random 10 percent of the re-registration forms – note this is not forms with problems, but a random sample, and to verify the fingerprints on these forms. When I asked the Police’s Forensic Department, I was told checking a single fingerprint will take at least 5 minutes. This means in 24 hours of non stop work, only 288 records can be checked, 300 at the most. To check over 7000 forms will take more than 20 days. If we were to do so, there is not enough time before November 11. Even now, we only have 20 days between now and then [November 11].”

On the earliest date for a new election

“The Elections Commission believes it will take us 21 days to hold an election at the earliest. So if we start immediately, November 9 is the earliest date, with a shortened time frame for tasks. The Constitution, Elections Laws give a 60 day period to call an election if the post of President and Vice President are vacant at the same time. In addition to this, even to hold a by election for the local councils, a 45 day period is allocated.

“That period is given to complete all necessary tasks, such as publishing the voter registry, and giving the opportunity to check and revise the registry. Even if we were to say we want to hold a speedy election, not necessarily the best election, then within 21 days, with a lot of hard work, we can do it. However, this time, we did it within 11 days. But in these 11 days, we worked like slaves in Pharaonic times. All day, all night, until we fell over, we worked. When we fell over, we go and sleep for two hours, washed our faces and started work again. That is to achieve the tasks in the Supreme Court’s supreme order. Our staff destroyed themselves working [like that]. But however, ultimately, at the last minute when we were about to dispatch the ballot boxes, the police refused to support us. They made it so that [an election] could not be held. Our staff are disheartened, saddened, concerned, hopeless. It will not be easy to make our staff work like Pharaonic slaves again. Earlier they sacrificed themselves for a national cause. But the police did not accept [our work].”

EC database compromised after SC access to data

“If you were to [meet all the demands of the political parties] it is not possible to hold an election within 21 days. We do have questions over whether our server is being accessed. Our data is being destroyed. With the Supreme Court case, we had to submit a lot of information about our computer systems to the Supreme Court, including many records of logs, technical information, and involve the NCIT [National Center for Information Technology] in it.

Previously, access to the system was very restricted to very few people, not just anybody could access it. But now the system is open. Now we are seeing people accessing and changing our database. No one had the opportunity to access the system in the annulled first round of presidential elections. People are destroying our data. So we cannot give that kind of certainty they [political parties] want, NCIT cannot give that kind of assurance now either. Earlier, they said they could not notice any external access in the annulled first round of election. They have not said anything yet [about the revote]. But I am certain, I know that if they check now, they will find there are ways for people to access the database. Because we see changes that should not take place happening to our data.”

On JP and PPM’s refusal to approve voter registry

“As far as I know, their signature is required to ensure that the voter list present at the polling station has been prepared by the Elections Commission. No matter how much they check, they cannot verify the information of 239,000, people unless they have two to three years. No matter how clever they are they will need at least six months to check and approve the voter registry. We cannot hold an election as they want to. The Maldives will never be able to hold an election according to their demands. So far in the Maldives, elections have not been held the way candidates want. Elections Commission will decide what to do. Elections must proceed on the Elections Commission’s decisions. If medical care were to be given as the patient wants, then what is the use of doctors? I do not believe an election can be held according to their demands.

“We followed the Supreme Court’s guidelines. The only task that was not completed was the signing of the voter registry by the representatives of the PPM and JP candidates. They failed to do what the Supreme Court order ordered them to do. Because of their failure, the police refused to allow the election to proceed. They stopped the election. Because of that, the Maldives is in a dangerous situation. The state is very vulnerable now.

“It is not easy for us to hold an election according to the Supreme Court’s restrictions. Before we hold a new election, we want to check and clarify with the Supreme Court if we have to permanently follow [the guidelines]. The official in charge of the ballot box is not allowed to carry a phone. In no other place in the world, does a Supreme Court make a decision like that.”

Calls for a return to holding elections within constitution and elections laws

“The problem here is that we are acting outside the law. Otherwise, we do not have to ask anything of the candidates. The laws state the time for this task, that task. These time periods have been written in the law and these laws have been ratified. We have to obey them and the candidates have to obey them as well. If we were to discard these laws, then we have to get approval of the candidates or else they will have the opportunity to raise problems and not accept the results. This is what will happen in a next election. But if we were to go back inside the laws, then the time periods have to be obeyed by the Elections Commission, by the state institutions and all candidates.”


23 thoughts on “Elections Commissioner slams Supreme Court, police, PPM, JP over annulment of first round”

  1. Thank God that there are still some honourable people in Maldives. Mr. Thowfeek should be given an extra special award for his devotion to duty ad upholding the constitution ro do what is right and honourable.

  2. Fuad is absolutely right on all counts.

    (1) The EC is the sole body responsible for elections administration. The Supreme Court, the Police, political parties, disgraced ex-colonel Nazim, disgraced policeman Riyaz or anyone else has absolutely no role regarding election administration. There are very specific laws and guidelines laid down in the Constitution.

    (2) The "guidelines" of the SC are invalid as the SC has no power to impose them. SC dispenses justice, not create them. If guidelines are needed, then ask Majlis to provide them, since they are the sole body that can change/amend the laws of this country.

    (3) Why was the SC given such level of technical details regarding EC IT systems? EC needs to bring in an external consultant (pay me if you like), and secure their database. There are numerous ways to do that.

    (4) The EC database is a lot more complicated than a flat file or an MS Access database. If someone can access AND is modifying it, then they have to know quite a lot about the database itself, its schema and relations. It appears the only outside body that had this information was the SC! With compromised and morally bankrupt dumb idiots such as Ali Hameed, what else did we expect? He or others would have passed the whole lot over to PPM and JP!

    (5) Fuad, take your DB off the network. Put a fake one there! Protect your real DB. Putting military grade security in front of your DB can be done quite easily with off-the-shelf components.

    (6) Lastly, it's good that Fuad is making a firm stand. Elections cannot be conducted on the whims of political parties, the police or the military. Unless there are iron clad guarantees of non interference, Fuad is absolutely right to refuse to waste any more public funds on this game. If PPM and JP want to play games, let them into a football ground, shut the gates until they tire out. Do not waste public money.

  3. Long live Fuwad, long live EC.

    We will NOT forget your hard work, risks and sacrifices.

  4. He is 100% right!! Quite lietrally about 10 evil corrupt people are holding the country back from democracy and their basic human rights. When this is over they have to be held accountable and arrested!!

  5. it is a simple and logical fact that the ID number is the key feature to verify a person not other details these are simple facts used with out any logic to create problems to the set system... so silly!!
    no matter who you are or where your from if it is wrong it is wrong

  6. @K on Sun, 20th Oct 2013 5:25 PM

    "ababSuvadeeb re point 4 it cud b someone frm w in the EC. Who knows."

    (1) That'd be easy to verify. I'm sure only a very select few within the EC have that level of access to their central DB.

    (2) For something like this, access to the DB has to go through several layers. First you have to gain access to the operating system, then the DB and then again, most commercial databases have multiple levels of access control.

    (3) Truly hacking a modern commercial database is not an easy task. So, its either inside information or information outsiders garnered from the EC.

    (4) If I was in charge, I'd take the whole lot off line and put a "honey pot" in place!

  7. One thing I forgot to mention:

    The accusation by idiot boy Riyaz regarding MDP accessing EC systems "live" was obviously a reference to this.

    It's highly likely (infact a 100% probability) that MDP's opponents are hacking the EC systems in order to lay the blame with MDP. Their plan would be to start pointing fingers as they've already done.

    Next comes along the most competent intelligence organisation in the world. Yes, these guys do put the CIA, MI6, Mossad and every other intelligence agency to shame. I'm talking, of course, about the secret "intelligence" unit of the Maldives Police Service! They'll do an "investigation" and discover that those hackers were MDP activists.

    It won't be long before that happens.

  8. What's very likely now is both PPM and JP rushing to hold elections, since Waheed has indicated he won't remain beyond 11th November. These are the final days of an illegal regime. May Allah condemn it to the pits of Jahannam.

  9. Ahmed Bin Addu,

    The EC is the sole body responsible for elections administration. The Supreme Court, the Police, political parties, disgraced ex-colonel Nazim, disgraced policeman Riyaz or anyone else has absolutely no role regarding election administration. There are very specific laws and guidelines laid down in the Constitution.
    This is if we have a legitimate government. You forgot this is a coup government and the country, language, religion or people does not matter to them.
    They want to remain in power and looking ways to extend their life span being in power because they know they have no chance in an election.
    Two gang leaders who have no consciences are struggling hard to use every corrupt dishonorable characters to assist them to prolong this misery for the country and her people defying the constitution and all norms and beliefs and the opinion of the International community. I am so grateful to the International community for being so patient with us for had you imposed sanctions on us it would make we innocent citizens plight worse than now.
    Please appoint Mr Fuad for an award for bravery and courage. He deserves that more than Maumoon who should get an award for planning to destroy Maldives and her people.

  10. Hear ye, Faud is a genuine hero. There is nothing to compare to the service Faud has done. This man will have a place in history forever dear to our hearts. No sleep, to meet an impossible list of demands, and still you prevailed, only to be derailed by the intransigence of Pee Pee and the Gas. You are an inspiration to your staff. If only the MPS was so inspired by their leadership. Keep going Faud. Thank you from all corners of the Maldives.

  11. #Hussain

    It is us in the International community and especially us tourists who have you people to thank for allowing us your visit your beautiful islands. Despite what many of you may think we are mindful of your traditions and beliefs and we are grateful for the leniency and the patience you allow us on the resorts.

    We have democracy in our lands and it angers us to see you suffer this way. But take heart, no dictators ever last. The Shah of Iran, Sadam Hussain, Gaddafi, mubarak. They have all gone.
    So will your dictators.

    We here are all on your side and pray to God for your deliverance.

  12. ..... And give us a list of the resorts owned by the crooks and we will avoid them!

    The Friends Of Maldives boycott list has 'mysteriously' been removed.

  13. "Neil on Sun, 20th Oct 2013 7:10 PM
    it is a simple and logical fact that the ID number is the key feature to verify a person"


    Unlike in the West, the politicians here deal with an electorate rather gullible, politically immature and uninformed.

    In Maldives a castle can be built on a straw and people accept it.

  14. New demands to be imposed on the Elections Commission.
    A. The ballot sheet should be white and cut to resemble an underwear.
    B. The ballot sheet should have a watermark with a photograph of the latest 'drill queen'.
    C. The ballot sheet should have a picture of a pink flower ( a rose perhaps ) with a tongue licking at the core superimposed on it with the comment GOLHAA BOA!
    Should the Elections Commission fail to agree to ALL of the above then they have failed in their duty and Mr. Fuad Thaufeeq can kindly tender his resignation and hand over his duties to his very able deputy FAYAAZ.

  15. Fuwad will slap on the face of everyone else except MDP.

    Fuward is being hijacked by Nasheed and he has no choice but to follow his master instruction.

    ID card no is not only the thing that need to be checked and voters list must be inline with the national registration details and the most accurate data will be that and not an artificial list that is being prepared by Fuwad.

    MDP had issued forged IDs to number of people and then EC had included them in thier voters list. This is why we need to verify the voters list.

    Even international observers will not be able see any issue with this while observing at the polling station .

  16. That's complete Bullsh!t Hero.

    How can MDP issue ID cards and unique ID numbers. There's only one registry in the Maldives capable of that. Fake ID numbers would be noticeable as soon as they are attempted to be registered.

    You need to stop believing the propaganda you're being fed and open your eyes and ears.

  17. peasant: thanks for all the times you've brought my emotionally over charged mind back to the table of reason through your intelligent comments. You are vastly more intelligent than I am, and its good for me to be corrected by you or else I would be so far into believing my own far fetched, fictitious idealistic nonsense I'd be starting to believe unicorns are going to help MDP!

  18. We should be greatfull that Fuad Thowfeek is holding fort, with all EC has been put through.

    Now the voter registry is verified and cross referenced with the National ID card database, why cant people get it through their head it has been done, what JP and PPM is demanding to verify finger prints of 10% of the forms not the database. This has been been shown to be impossibility given the time restraints and the available technology at in our country to meet the constitutionally set deadline to elect a new president.

    Media, Politicians community leaders need to emphasise this point to the gullible local populace, also someone needs to explain this to Mr.Burma Gasim.

    The issue of EC database being compromised is a serious issue through, I'm glad Thowfeek came public with this, because this must be the next play PPM must be going for after the next first round of elections. EC needs to first take care of this now before they can proceed with any other round of elections. It can be done within a day, I'm sure, possibly an extra layer of hardware security (hardware firewall) after a security feature reset on the system, would be a fast secure solution.

  19. @Hero

    When I hear stories like this it reminds me of parents who come to school raging at teachers when their kids get low marks. They will not accept the fact that their kids got low marks because they did not study. Its always someone elses fault. You know as well as I do that PPM and JP did badly in the elections because they did not have the capacity to run an election and their Presidential candidates did not have the credibility that MDP Presidential candidate Raees Nasheed has.

    So all I have to say to you, Hero , is get a life, and get on the prayer mat. A few prayers might bring the fear of Allah into your head.I am so sick of the lies, the stories and the evil that you guys represent. And while you are about it find the courage to write in your own name.

  20. I am just stunned by this interview.The bullying of Fuadh and his team by Gasim and Yaamin is beyond belief. It is time Gasim and Yaamin were taken out of the election, how can an election be free and fair with the intimidation faced by the Elections by these yagundas.


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