The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has conducted a counter-assessment of figures highlighted as electoral fraud in the Supreme Court’s verdict annulling the results of the February 7 poll.
The Supreme Court in its controversial judgement issued last week based its findings on a secret police report compiled by the court itself, with the assistance of police from the Forensic Directorate Department. The court ruled the election had lacked legitimacy, as there were 5,623 irregularities in the voter registry. The secret report was not shown to the Elections Commission’s legal team.
Former President Nasheed – who finished the September 7 poll on top with 45.45 percent of the popular vote – told the press on Saturday that the party’s legal team had only noted 242 instances of possible fraudulent votes in the Supreme Court’s majority ruling, and 473 instances of potentially fraudulent votes in the dissenting view given by both Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain and Judge Abdulla Areef.
Nasheed argued that neither of these figures would have made any impact on the outcome of the presidential poll.
The final results of the poll held on September 7 showed Nasheed securing 95,224 votes. The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) fielding Maldives former Dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s half brother, Abdulla Yameen finishedin second position with 53,099 votes, 25.35 percent of the popular vote. Jumhoree Party (JP) finished at third position with 50,422 votes – 24.07 percent of the vote – while incumbent President Mohamed Waheed Hassan finished at the bottom with just 5.13 percent of the vote or 10,750 votes.
The former President stated that while the margin between the candidates who finished third and second place of the race stood at 2,677 votes, adding either of the figures to the total number of votes obtained by Gasim Ibrahim would not have changed the outcome.
Analysis of the figures
At a press conference today, the MDP emphasised that irregularities on the voter registry such as incorrect address details did not prove or correspond to an instance of a fraudulent vote.
The party tallied the instances of fraud which were explicitly noted in the rulings, and stated this figure was a fraction of the number needed to influence the outcome.
According to the majority ruling, seven underage voters had cast their ballot in the poll while the dissenting view by Chief Justice Faiz and Judge Areef noted 12 underage voters as having cast their ballots.
The majority ruling highlighted 18 supposedly deceased people who cast their vote in the poll, while the dissenting view claimed 14 dead people had cast their ballots.
Regarding the repetition of names in the voter list, the majority ruling highlighted that 225 entries in the list as repeated. However, the dissenting view by the two judges stated 174 entries were repeated in the voter list, while 22 entries were found to have been repeated when compared to the Department of National Registration (DNR)’s database.
The majority ruling noted that seven people without records in the DNR database had voted in the poll, while the dissenting view noted 207 such people had voted in the poll, out of which 96 had voted under National Identification Card (NIC) numbers that did not match with the number in the voter list.
Both the rulings noted that seven people were given the right to cast their vote, even when their names had not been present in the voting list, after their names were added to the list in handwriting.
“No legitimate, internationally acceptable grounds to annul the poll”
Nasheed said while the Supreme Court had no legitimate or internationally acceptable grounds to annul the poll, the party would still work with the Elections Commission’s decision and was preparing for a fresh election to be held on October 19.
“Even if we get a chance as small as that of the eye of a needle to compete in a presidential election, we are going to win it swiftly. Our opponents have admitted it. They simply cannot win over us through a vote of the people,” Nasheed said.
The former president criticised the election guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court, which he described as the effective creation of new legislation made by the court. The mandate given by the constitution to the Supreme Court was to interpret laws, not to make new ones, he said.
“We have an elected parliament that is mandated to draft legislation. It is completely normal for Supreme Court to declare a part of this legislation illegitimate. But these guidelines, regardless of the name, are new legislation that instructs a state institution to follow a specific procedure. That is creating a law. They do not have that authority,” Nasheed stressed.
Nasheed said when the Supreme Court issued an order, this was required to be in pursuant to the law or the constitution, and if this was not the case, no institution was necessitated to follow those orders.
He also criticised the Supreme Court’s October 10 midnight ruling ordering the Elections Commission to compile a new voter registry, only days after releasing a judgement that ordered it to just amend the errors in the re-registration process.
“I think what is really happening here is that these four judges do not know what they are doing. I don’t think they are doing this purposely. As you know, these four have acquired very strange forms of degrees and maybe it is just that they do not have a clue about what they are doing,” Nasheed suggested.
“The current actions of the Supreme Court have now become acts carried out against the state. These four judges have become a threat to our national security. I call upon the security services to act immediately,” Nasheed said.
He expressed confidence that his political opponents would not succeed in their attempts to invalidate his candidacy, repeatedly claiming that this was “impossible”.
“People will not be surprised by attempts to bar me from contesting. I think the issue about candidacy is no longer newsworthy,” Nasheed said, when the question regarding his candidacy was asked.