The UK and EU have both issued statements praising the conduct of Saturday’s presidential election, describing them as “transparent and competitive”.
EU High Representative Catherine Ashton “congratulates the people of the Maldives on the first round of voting in their presidential elections, which international observers have recognised as inclusive and competitive,” read a statement issued by the EU’s representation in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
“The very high level of voter participation demonstrates the commitment of Maldivians to the democratic process. Campaigning was peaceful and the elections were well run,” the statement added.
The UK’s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Alistair Burt, also praised the conduct of the election.
“Election observers, both domestic and international, have broadly agreed that the election was transparent and competitive. The UK’s election observers were also pleased to see that proceedings ran smoothly, and that the atmosphere was one of excitement and anticipation,” Burt stated.
“The exceptionally high turnout – estimated to be around 88 percent – demonstrates a significant public enthusiasm and support for democracy in Maldives. I hope political parties will honour this democratic engagement by working together in order to further consolidate democratic institutions in Maldives,” he stated.
“I hope that the second round of elections on 28 September, and the transition to post-electoral politics, will also be free, fair and credible,” Burt concluded.
The US and India have also previously issued statements on the polls, particularly noting the peaceful voting throughout the day and preparedness of the Elections Commission.
Local NGO Transparency Maldives – which ran the most comprehensive observation operation on the day – also announced prior to the release of the provisional results that none of the incidents reported on election day would have a “material impact on the outcome of the election”.
At the same time, the High Court has accepted a case submitted by the Jumhoree Party (JP) contesting the election results and seeking the release of voters’ lists and ballot box sheets by the Elections Commission.
The party’s candidate, Gasim Ibrahim, came third in Saturday’s vote with 24 per cent, narrowly missing a place in the run-off on September 28. He has refused to accept the election result.
“I will be taking the oath [of office] on 11 November,” Gasim declared at a recent rally held at Maafannu Kunooz.
“I am saying I believe I was in first place. Different result reports on different media shows there were many, immense issues,” he told a subsequent press conference.
The High Court yesterday rejected the party’s first submission of the case.