Parliament orders Elections Commission to drop fingerprint verification for party membership forms

Parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee has requested the Elections Commission (EC) cease requiring fingerprints on applications for political party membership.

According to local media, the parliamentary committee today decided that no law or regulation existed that required the EC to request fingerprints to verify the authenticity of new party members.

The committee members questioned the efficiency of fingerprinting technology, arguing that no mechanism or database presently existed in the Maldives that could store the required amounts of information.

However, local NGO the Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) told Minivan News that while it was unsure of the efficiency of the previous fingerprint system, fraudulent membership registration for Maldivian political parties remained a significant problem that needed to be addressed.

“The problem that exists right now is that there is a lot of fraudulent membership within political parties. Often, people are not aware they have been signed up,” MDN stated. “It is imperative that it is down to an individual to decide which party they want to belong to and no one else.”

MDN Executive Director Humaida Abdul Gafoor said it was vital that some form of verification mechanism was in place to ensure party memberships were genuine, adding that a bigger issue facing the committee should be finding an alternatives to the fingerprint technology, rather than simply halting it.

“We don’t know if the EC’s adoption of fingerprinting was a move in the right direction in first place,” she added.

Verification systems

Explaining the decision to discontinue the EC’s request for fingerprints, Deputy Chairman of the Independent Institutions Committee, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Sameer, said that the Maldives did not presently have a mechanism or system to collect and store such information.

“In regards to issues with the fingerprinting system, the EC, Department of National Registration and the Maldives Police Service all agreed they didn’t have enough records or verification systems available,” he told Minivan News.

The Department of National Registration, which had also been summoned before the committee, was reported to have confirmed that no fingerprint database presently existed in the Maldives.

Elections Commission President Fuad Thaufeeq was not responding to calls at time of press.

System critics

One critic of the EC’s fingerprint system is MP Ahmed Mahloof of the government-aligned Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

Back in September, Mahloof alleged via local media that close to 8000 membership forms from his party have been rejected by the Elections Commission (EC) – mainly due to the quality of fingerprints appearing on the forms.

The MP claimed that the fingerprint issue had arisen because the EC did not have sufficiently modern machinery to look at the fingerprints, relying instead on the perception of its staff – drastically limiting memberships numbers for the party.

A spokesperson for the EC told Minivan News at the time that similar complaints had been received from other political parties including the Jumhoree Party (JP), Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP), and the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

“Party membership forms go through a 50 step verification process. We are doing this to minimise chances of fraud. After we introduced this procedure, we are no longer receiving any complaints from individuals who have been placed in parties without their knowledge,” the spokesperson said.

The EC accepted that did not have machinery to verify fingerprints, but claimed that it had been able to forward complaints to the Maldives Police Service, which was able to use its resources to look into the matter.


8 thoughts on “Parliament orders Elections Commission to drop fingerprint verification for party membership forms”

  1. Well well well the PPM and MDP do agree on one thing, the avenues to fraud needs to be kept open.

    After all even Abdulla Gazee cannot turn around a criminal case filed by the EC if the culprits fingerprint is on a fraudulent form.

    People, do not fall for the line about lack of resources. Even if the EC does not have the resources to verify every single print, the threat of being caught will keep crooks from fraudulently filing with someone else's fingerprints.

    I do hope our esteemed MPs do not ban citizens from using locks on their doors, after all many locks can easily be broken and we cannot ensure every single lock works all the time.

  2. I believe that the political party membership roster at the Elections Commission should be done away altogether.

    The reason why parties are scrambling to increase their number in addition to priming voters is:

    1. To get more money from the State budget; and
    2. for the bragging rights.

    Parliament should base the State financial assistance based on the number of seats in Parliament or number of votes each party receives in a general election.

    As it is, there is no reason for the Elections Commission to force fingerprints on the membership forms because the Commission has no way to verify or check the identity of individuals via the fingerprints, while the collection of fingerprints provides a false sense of security.

  3. Heyo nuwaane, thihurihaa kameh huttalaa fa, Gayoom nagaa kingakah hadaafa,partliment wes uvaa laafa, one men verikan kuran vee noon,

  4. If this is the case we must have no fingerprints for passports and id cards and bank loans.
    This is to make fraudulent party membership to scoop money out of Government coffers. Why do the Election commission and Parliament allow such practice which is against public interest?
    Isn’t there any powerful NGO, media or interest group to make these thievery to stop and hold public official to hold accountable for causing lose and allow loopholes to siphon money from government funds. An NGO or activist should file a case in Anticorruption Board of Maldives to investigate the matter. It is the person who loses their rights because of these identity thefts by political parties.

  5. Stealing and corruption of government funds are okay with the Mullas. But if they see an empty beer can on the road or a Buddha statue in the national museum, these hypocrites act as if they are mad dogs.

    Where is the MEDIA and RELIGION to educate and fight for our rights.

  6. Wonder why we cannot install a voter registration system, such as Biometric one, a combination of fingerprints, scanners and cameras,

  7. Why has this become such a complicated issue? Every citizen is eligible for a Maldivian passport. Simply require party members to show their passport as a verification document. After all, it's the single most secure document currently available to ALL government agencies.

    In most countries, a passport, ID card or driving license suffices to prove identity and defrauding those are criminal offences. Get on with the times, boys and girls...


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