Midnight ruling from Supreme Court orders EC to address candidate’s concerns over fingerprint verification

The Supreme Court opened at midnight again on Sunday October 13 to order the Elections Commission (EC) to address the complaints of any individual who has the right to stand for election, “including the verification of fingerprints on re-registration forms through the Department of National Registration.”

Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) candidate Abdulla Yameen earlier told newspaper Haveeru that it “would be hard” for him to approve the voter registry – another recent requirement from the Supreme Court – should the EC not verify fingerprints.

The Supreme Court previously opened at midnight on Thursday October 10 to order the Elections Commission to restart from scratch the process of re-registering an estimated 65,000 voters wishing to vote at a location other than their home island.

The Court had annulled the first round of polling shortly before midnight only several days prior on October 7, ordering the Elections Commission to hold polls before October 20.

Following the order for the re-registration process to be repeated, parties worked throughout the short, 24 hour window to try and re-register as many people as possible using the new fingerprint forms.

While police routinely fingerprint those arrested and the Department of National Registration (DNR) fingerprints those issued new ID cards, no institution in the Maldives has the capacity to verify fingerprints on the scale of a national presidential election.

“[The Supreme Court] orders the Elections Commission and relevant state institutions to implement guidelines outlined in Supreme Court verdict 2013/SC-C/42 in the manner stated in the guidelines, with the support and participation of relevant state institutions, presidential candidates or their representatives [to ensure elections proceed] as per Article 170 (a) of the constitution without undue influence, freely and fairly and transparently, and hence if any individual who has right to stand for election has any complaints, including the verification of fingerprints on re-registration forms through the Department of National Registration [the Elections Commission and all relevant state institutions must] ensure such complaints are addressed,” read the Supreme Court’s latest order.

Jumhoree Party (JP) running mate Dr Hassan Saeed, whose party filed the petition that would annul the first round after placing third, was reported by local media as acknowledging that it would be “impossible to verify every single fingerprint.”

“The Maldives does not have the facilities to do so yet. It is not good to demand such a thing when the Supreme Court has specified a timeline and when there are no resources to do so,” Dr Saeed told a press conference.

The MDP derided the previous demand to redo the voter re-registration process as a “cynical attempt by the PPM and the Supreme Court to prevent elections from taking place next week.”

“The MDP is extremely concerned that the Supreme Court is interfering in the electoral process for political reasons, issuing unconstitutional rulings and acting with impunity,” said the party in an earlier statement.

“The PPM is running scared of the voters because they know they will lose a free and fair election, and the Supreme Court is facilitating the subversion of the democratic process,” said the party’s spokesperson, MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor.

The previous voter registry was praised by local and international election observers but was thrown out by a 4:3 Supreme Court majority due to 5600 irregularities raised in a secret police report not shared with the EC’s defence lawyers.

The 17 member Commonwealth election observation team in particular praised the orginial voter registry, describing it as “accurate and robust”.

“Fears expressed by some political parties regarding possible large numbers of deceased voters and voters registered in the wrong geographic area seem to be unfounded, based on the low incidence of election day complaints,” said the group’s head, former Prime Minister of Malta Dr Lawrence Gonzi, following the September 7 poll.

US “deeply concerned” about legal action delaying election

The United States has meanwhile said it is “deeply concerned” about continued legal actions “that could further delay the Maldivian presidential election”.

That statement was issued following the Supreme Court’s order – in response to a petition from the PPM – to redo the entire voter re-registration process.

Earlier in same day the PPM had sought to file another petition to bar former President Mohamed Nasheed from the polls on the grounds of him being “irreligious” and critical of the judiciary, although this appeared to stall later the same day following dissent within the party.

“It is important that the [election] go forward unimpeded in a fair, inclusive and transparent way,” said Deputy Spokesperson for the US State Department, Marie Harf, in a statement.

“The basis of any democracy is for citizens to choose their government, for political differences to be decided at the ballot box in an environment free of violence and for election results to be respected,

“We continue to urge a peaceful political process that is inclusive of all candidates in order to ensure the Maldivian election that will meet international standards of an elected, legitimate democracy,” the statement concluded.

The US statement followed UK Foreign Secretary William Hague’s urging of presidential candidates “to act in line with the interests of the people of Maldives”.

“It is imperative that there are no further delays and the elections be free, fair and inclusive, and that international observers are invited,” the UK Foreign Secretary said.


12 thoughts on “Midnight ruling from Supreme Court orders EC to address candidate’s concerns over fingerprint verification”

  1. PPM has put yet another obstacle to an election ever taking place. Does the Department for National Registration have the capability to verify 60,000 fingerprints in the next few days? I don't think so.

    Will there be any election in the near future: not with PPM and its allies on the Supreme Court bench.

  2. This is Yameen's last fight. He knows that if he loses this one, his political career is over. PPM will delay this election for as long as they possibly can.

  3. Who wants to bet that the second first round is going to get annulled too? I'll wager quite a few Rufiyaa. It's a 100% certainty.

  4. I must say that Abdulla Yameen is quite creative in his bid to destroy the democratic process in the Maldives!

    What's next? I know. Compulsory DNA testing to be verified by the police before ballot papers are accepted. This will ensure that the election is free and fair.


  5. The things are going exactly according to the plan. This election will not take place and on November 11 th no President will take oath. Our gangs will create chaos and all the blame will be on MDP. We shall do the needful through our loyal friends in the Supreme Court to bar Nasheed from contesting sighting him as a threat to national security. We know there will be some noise in the international front but it will remain noisy without much action. We are in the process of buying the kingpins who have a say in Commonwealth, EU and UN. Our problem is with India but we also have China who would do the needful if India tries to be funny with us. Nasdheed and Gasim have no place in ruling the country as we are the Royals and they are commoners.

  6. PPM: Hey EC Lamb why are you muddying the waters, can't you see I'm trying to drink?

    EC: But Sir PPM Wolf, the water is flowing from you to me, so even if I muddy the water it shouldn't affect you.

    PPM: Ok, then why did you call me bad names 10 years ago?

    EC: It couldn't have been me, I wasn't born 10 years ago.

    PPM: If it wasn't you then it must have been your mother, for that I will eat you now.

    We are at the finale of Aesop's famous fable.

  7. All this apery supreme court is just one serious issue to be tackled. This is the question of freedom and human dignity. This is more serious then any Ladheenee issue, this mockery justice cannot be tackled without Ladheenee effort. Because these psychopaths buckled with religious fanaticism coupled with impaired neurotransmitters have no sense of human dignity at all. Either these monkeys have lost all their sense to religious fanaticism or self centered egoism or for own survival instinct. For whatever reason they behave, it has no substance whatsoever in the functioning of good governance and rule of law. Without Ladheenee principle you cannot uproot such well rooted immoral and uncivilized barbarism sustained with dope of religious euphuism. Ladheenee is the antidote for religious venom that spreads in ignorant people which normally capitalized by dictatorial people. Lets vote for Anni, atleast Ladhedheenee fikuru can give us freedom from mental slavery to think freely to decide what is good or bad for us.

  8. Due to this Election problems, Maldivians are getting Social Anxiety, it is a very dangerous sickness. We can take people to the justice, who are behind in this Gang.
    Heh, there is no justice in the is world.Remember this, People of Maldives, have to solve the Problem by them selves. don't rely on S.Cort now. Time is running, the old man Gayoom, its nothing. But young generation must do some this.

  9. I think it would be best to simply hand over the country to Yaameen n Gramps Maumoon. Atleast that way we can be assured of some peace. Forget about democracy, justice, Islam n the rightful legacy of future generations. I believe Yaameen will kill to secure power. We can't match him in sheer ruthlessness so we may as well get used to calling him Mr President n the plastic faced moron 'the Supreme Leader'.

  10. Ali Rasheed.
    Are you made. Who is Gayoom, and Yameen. Bllod suckers, Still you want hand over Maldives to them for you to satay calm and peace.So you looks like a Gayooms bug.


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