Transparency Maldives reveals election day plans

Transparency Maldives has revealed details of its election observation plans, involving over 400 volunteers working throughout the country on polling day.

At a press conference this morning, the anti-corruption NGO revealed the extent of its operation – the only “non-partisan and independent observation” program being conducted by a domestic organisation on September 7.

“Transparency Maldives will be covering the election more extensively than anyone else,” said Transparency Maldives’ Program Manager Thoriq Hamed.

He explained that after conducting observations in three national polls since Transparency Maldives’ founding in 2007, this year’s operation was the most comprehensive.

Over 400 volunteers and trained observers will spread across 20 atolls this Saturday, placed randomly on islands in a method used in many other countries.

All volunteers have signed an ‘integrity pledge’ which amalgamates domestic and international election observation standards.

Transparency’s plans have been devised with the assistance of Dr Neil Nevitte, Professor of Political Science  at the University of Toronto and Senior Election Advisor at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.

When asked about the case recently filed against the Elections Commission (EC) in the Supreme Court, Thoriq stated that he did not regard the issue as a “major concern”.

“We saw similar issues in 2008… parties should raise any concerns that they have,” he said.

A member of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) – a leading contender in Saturday’s vote – filed the case last week, urging the court to investigate the Election Commission’s (EC) re-registration process, to assure an enhanced role for the military on polling day, and to order an independent audit into the EC’s IT software.

The Commonwealth, the European Union, and India are all sending their own teams of observers to ensure the country’s second multi-party presidential election pass smoothly.

Thoriq explained that Transparency would attempt to give as much help to international observers as it was able to on the day, particularly in terms of logistical information and translation.

However, Elections Program Coordinator Azim Zahir was keen to point out that despite the experience of the international observers, it was Transparency who would have the most valuable data on election day.

Communications Manager Aiman Rasheed will be stationed in EC headquarters throughout the day, and Transparency will hold two election day press conferences.

The first is to be held early in the afternoon, discussing the opening of polls, and the second will take place later in the evening, covering the day’s proceedings and the count itself.

Earlier this month, both the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) announced their own plans to station election observers in specific areas of the country.


4 thoughts on “Transparency Maldives reveals election day plans”

  1. Exactly what measures are in place to ensure that volunteers do not have political affiliations/are not politically biased - even when I say this I know in this country that finding 400 politically unbiased people to go out on voting day to poll stations is impossible.

    The problem lies with the fact that reports from stations will be colored by the interpretation of biased persons who will then relate their overly biased accounts on to English-speaking observers. I assume the average age of volunteers would be between 18-25 - observing an election would be impossible for Maldivian youth of that age no matter how strong the training or how good the guidelines. Monitoring elections should be left up to adults ideally. I guess we have no choice but rely on these youngsters who are bound to be idealistically attached to political parties and candidates or even serving their interests for money. The fact that TM was unable to pay good remuneration will ensure that this will be the case.

    In the long run, the declaration of free and fair for the elections will not depend only on objective observations unless in the event of open and undeniable violence/obstruction of voting. The declaration will be based on political considerations which will weigh the interests of external parties in the matter. The fact that regional giant India saw fit to send their own observers shows that interests are varied and at odds in this case. Good luck to TM and hope you can really dispel the general perception that you are but an arm of the MDP (please not that I am not accusing you of being so).

  2. Tsk tsk. Please find out a little bit more about proper domestic observation before commenting. It shows that you're talking out of your ass.

    I am an observer with Transparency Maldives on election day and I have been trained. I am not required to answer any "subjective" question, i.e, I will not be asked to say whether I "think" if the police and the election officials were biased or not.

    Transparency Maldives will be reporting whether polling opened on time, whether materials had arrived, officials stuck to their trainings and if the police stayed out of the polling area, as they are required by law. And if they did, whether they entered with the permission of the person in charge of the polling station.

    I am required to call TM on election day twice and report. I am impressed by their preparation and am happy to be part of their election work. I entered the training room with the belief that TM is biased towards certain interests but left impressed with their attitude.

    Plus, TM's observers will not be translating for the international observers. Nor will they be speaking to the media.

  3. 400? ur observers are 200. who ru lying to tm? you think ur quick count is something ppl dont know? coz u can announce results before election comm doesnt make you any good coz election comm annonunces results very quick here. v will wait 2c ur quick count


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