The opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) took the lead in the local council elections this morning, as ballot boxes across the islands were tallied overnight. However the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) appear to have decisively won both Male’ and Addu City Councils, taking all but two seats in the former and every seat in Addu.
Police reported that incidents were generally minor and restricted to isolated outbursts on several islands due to the prevalence of ‘assisted’ voting for the elderly and blind. An exception was on Kela in Haa Alif Atoll, where police had to last night evacuate election officials and the ballot box to Hanimaadhoo before controlling a irate crowd.
“There was a misunderstanding between the Elections Commission and the people voting,” said Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam. “Some people may have gone there after the 4pm deadline and found they were unable to vote.”
Both major parties have expressed concern with the low voter turnout, while the DRP yesterday expressed particular frustration with the Elections Commission’s last minute decision to reallow an election for Addu City Council, following Supreme Court permission. Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali told Minivan News that the party has dissassembled its campaign team in Addu after the EC cancelled the election.
10:50 – Two-thirds of the ballot boxes (276) have been counted so far, with 141 remaining to be counted. Current tally:
12:50 – Haveeru reports issues with the ballot box on Baarah in Haa Alif Atoll, delaying preliminary results for the island.
Elections Commission Deputy President Ahmed Fayaz told Minivan News that many such issues had been reported to the Commission.
”The commission’s officials have been working since dawn yesterday, and it is possible for them to make mistakes,” he said. ”We have now sent a team to the island to resolve the issue.”
13:19 – DRP pulls further ahead as island votes come in, although vote % won’t be available until later in the day.
Of 288 boxes counted, 129 to go:
2:15pm – Votes for Baarah are being recounted due to a mismatch between the number of ballots and votes cast, reports Haveeru. The Kela ballot box is currently being recounted, amid reports that over 600 people on the island may have been unable to vote due to deadline policies.
16:35 – Both major parties seem to have declared victory. Former DRP Deputy Leader Umar Naseer has passed around an SMS invitation declaring that a “Welcome to Blue Maldives” victory function, organised by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, will be held at the Artificial Beach in Male’ at 8:45pm this evening.
Meanwhile, jubilant MDP supporters have crowded into pickup trucks and are parading the city hooting and cheering.
17:15 – Preliminary results of 307 boxes counted:
17:17 – The Elections Commission has said it may call a re-election in Kela after violence erupted last night when voting was closed. Haveeru reports that over 600 people were unable to vote by the deadline.
18:12 – Elections Commission confirms that temporary counts for almost all boxes have been completed across 188 islands and 400 polling stations, and are currently being faxed and emailed through to the EC to be tabulated.
Deputy Commissioner Ahmed Hassan Fayaz told Minivan News that the final results should be received around 11pm this evening, “although changes to the temporary results should be minor.”
“The temporary results suggest that MDP has won more seats in the city councils, while DRP has a clear majority in the island and atoll councils,” Fayaz said.
The percentage vote tally, rather than seat count, should be available later this evening or early tomorrow morning once tabulation is complete, which will give some insight into support for the major parties.
18:34 – Latest count:
Rolling coverage will continue today until votes have been counted. Refresh the page for updates.