Over 62,000 voters re-registered for parliamentary elections

The Elections Commission (EC) has stated that over 62,000 re-registration forms submitted by voters for the March 22 parliamentary elections in have now been processed and approved.

Re-registration is required for all those wishing to vote in a location other than their official place of residence.

EC Secretary General Asim Abdula Sattar confirmed that the forms of over one quarter of eligible voters have been approved since re-registration commenced on February 18. Local media has, however, reported that the forms processed so far are only those submitted in the capital city Malé.

Quoting a media official from the EC, the report states that re-registration forms submitted in the atolls, as well as to consulates in other countries, are still to be processed.

The EC announced that it would be allowing the amended forms to be submitted between 10am and 4pm on Monday (March 3).

Asim Abdul Sattar stated that the commission was currently in the process of returning rejected forms to the applicants.

“We are aiming to finish returning the rejected forms today itself. We will then review amended forms which are resubmitted tomorrow and accept them if it meets all requirements,” Asim stated.

He said that forms which were submitted and then rejected for any reason whatsoever can be resubmitted with the required amendments. However, forms cannot be submitted anew if it the original form was handed in within the initial time frame.

The commission stated that diplomatic offices in countries where ballot boxes will be placed will also accept amended re-registration forms on Monday.

The EC has previously revealed that there are over 240,000 eligible voters for the upcoming elections – the second since the country’s transition to multi-party democracy in 2008. A total of 302 candidates are contesting for 85 parliamentary seats.

The commission revealed last week that, despite new financial restrictions at the Ministry of Finance, it anticipated the March 22 poll would go ahead as scheduled.

Concern has been raised both internationally and at home over the EC’s independence as the Supreme Court pursues contempt of court and disobedience to order charges against the four commission members.

Commission members attended the court yesterday to sign statements relating to the previous hearing (February 17), explained EC Director General Mohamed Shakeel. The last hearing – the second since the charges were announced and proceedings begun within one day – saw the bench rule as admissible testimony normally protected under parliamentary privilege.

No date has been set for subsequent hearings, said Shakeel.