MP and Spokesperson for former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), Ahmed Mahloof, has told local media that close to 8000 membership forms from his party have been rejected by the Elections Commission (EC).
Stating that the Elections Commission’s main basis for rejection were the fingerprints on the forms not being up to standards, Mahloof claimed that this was because the EC did not have modern machinery to look at the fingerprints and relied on the staffs’ perception.
Mahloof further stated that the party may have to lodge the case in court, as the issue leads to reduction in number of party members and causes financial loss to the party. He said that he believed this to be discrimination against his party.
While the latest figures on the Elections Commission website shows PPM to have 17,403 members and 650 pending applications, Mahloof claimed that the party’s actual membership was close to 30,000.
Meanwhile, Vice President of Elections Commission Ahmed Fayaz told Minivan News today that similar complaints had been received from other political parties, the including Jumhoree Party, 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,” Fayaz said.
Fayaz said that it was true that the Elections Commission did not have machinery to verify fingerprints. However, he said that the commission forwarded complaints to the Maldives Police Service, who would use their resources to look into the matter.
Fayaz also confirmed that membership forms submitted by different parties were most often rejected due to fingerprints of applicants being unclear. He said they were unable to accept forms unless there was a clear fingerprint marked on it, since the MPS would rely on that should a complaint be lodged in future.
The Elections Commission plans to set up its own fingerprint verification system in the near future.
PPM Spokesperson Ahmed Mahloof and Interim Deputy Leader Umar Naseer were not responding to calls at the time of press.