Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) primary candidate in the Kendhoo constituency, Mauroof Zakir, has said he is considering seeking legal action over what he has deemed “unfair polls.”
Zakir competed against former Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) leader Thasmeen Ali, with the party on Saturday awarding the party ticket to Thasmeen after he won 391 votes to Zakir’s 199.
However, Zakir has called for a re-vote, alleging MDP members in Baa Atoll Kendhoo Island were not given the chance to vote.
The Kendhoo constituency consists of six islands – Kudarikil, Kamadhoo, Kendhoo, Kihadhoo, Dhonfanu,and Dharavandhoo. Polls were held for members in all six islands and constituency members residing in Malé on January 24.
However, polls in Malé were called off due to poor organisation and voter registry issues. Although polls were completed for the constituency in the six islands, the Kendhoo results were later invalidated after members asked for independent officials at the ballot box.
The MDP said that Zakir – who is also the head of MDP’s Kendhoo branch – had designated all officials at the ballot box.
The MDP sent independent officials to Kendhoo in an attempt to hold a re-vote, but members refused to allow the vote to proceed claiming the reason for invalidating the first polls was unacceptable. According to the MDP, Zakir’s supporters called for a re-vote in the entire constituency.
In the first poll held on Kendhoo, Zakir had received 204 votes and Thasmeen 15 votes .
Unable to proceed with voting on Kendhoo, the MDP decided to tally the results without the Kendhoo members’ votes.
“I am asking for a re-vote. It will be more fair and better for the party,” Zakir told Minivan News.
“I am considering seeking legal action through the court. But I also have to consider the fact that the MDP may lose the seat with an internal fight like this.”
MDP election committee member Ali Niyaz defended the party’s decision, claiming that even if polls are held on Kendhoo the vote will not affect the outcome.
Of the 260 members who are eligible to vote in Kendhoo, an estimated 100 had voted in Malé on January 31 when the MDP cancelled the Kendhoo vote, he said.
Even if all the remaining 160 members voted for Zakir, the overall result will not change, as there is currently a difference of 192 votes between Thasmeen and Zakir, Niyaz said.
“Also, we are on an extremely tight deadline. We have to submit all documents to the Elections Commission before February 11.”
Zakir has questioned the figures given by Niyaz, suggesting that a re-vote could indeed affect the outcome of the poll.
The MDP is, however, considering a re-vote in Addu Atoll Feydhoo constituency after it emerged voting had proceeded on an outdated eligible voters list.
Incumbent MP Alhan Fahmy lost the party ticket to Mohamed Nihad, who won 36 percent of the vote (316 votes). Alhan came third and with 18 percent of the vote (154 votes), and had said he would not accept the results, calling for a fresh vote.
Niyaz confirmed the list for the Feydhoo constituency did not list 67 new members. The MDP has not yet come to a decision on holding a re-vote, he said.
Alhan was stabbed on Saturday and is currently undergoing treatment in Sri Lanka.