PPM and JP threaten not to sign voter registry

The Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and Jumhooree Party (JP) have disputed the accuracy of the re-registration process and threatened not to sign the voter lists as the first round of presidential election – re-scheduled for November 9 – draws near.

At the request of the PPM and JP, the Elections Commission (EC) has already verified fingerprints on a randomly selected sample of 9,152 out of 71,000 voter re-registration forms.

However the JP in a letter tonight has called on the commission to verify all 71,000 voter re-registration forms, while the PPM has asked for the verification of an additional 6000 forms.

The Supreme Court, in its verdict annulling the September 7 vote, asked the EC to obtain fingerprints of all voters who wished to register to vote in a location other than their permanent address.

The apex court also ordered the EC to obtain signatures of all candidates on the voter lists ahead of the election. The police forcibly halted the October 19 election at the eleventh hour after PPM and JP refused to sign the voter lists.

EC President Fuwad Thowfeek has tonight expressed concern over the actions of the two parties and appealed to PPM presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen and JP presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim to be more responsible.

“I am concerned their candidates may not sign the voter registry. My hope is they will be more responsible. As candidates for the presidency of Maldives, my hope is they would prioritise the country’s interests and allow this election to proceed,” Fuwad told Minivan News.

In a letter to the EC tonight, the JP claimed they had received information from the DNR that the department had not been able to verify 12,000 fingerprints because the prints were unclear. An additional 3000 forms had fingerprints that did not belong to the voter, JP alleged.

However, Fuwad said the DNR had noted problems with only 294 forms. “But the DNR has not said even these forms are fraudulent. They told us the mismatch might be because the quality of database of fingerprints in their database is low. It may also be possible that the voter had given prints of two different fingers to the DNR and on the reregistration form,” he said.

The EC had called all 294 voters, and all voters have testified to the accuracy of the forms, Fuwad noted. There have been no complaints on reregistered location, he added.

“So I do not understand why the PPM wants us to verify another 6000 forms. Two of the forms they have asked us to verify are that of two senior EC staff. And these staff have said they have no problems with their forms. So why should the PPM ask for verification? Even if they could point out a problem with 100 forms, they have grounds to complain. But there are no complaints,” Fuwad said.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has noted 0.41 percent errors in the voter registry, but said the party accepts and will sign the voter registry.

In a statement issued today, the MDP noted a decrease of 488 voters in the November 9 voter list as compared to the September 7 voter list. New 2304 ID cards had been added to the new voter registry while 2792 ID cards from the September 7 list had been omitted on the new list. There were 61 repeated names and 1336 individuals who had come of voting age on the list, the party also noted.

“When the 1336 newly eligible voters are subtracted from the new 2304 ID cards that were added to the voter registry of November 2013, there are 968 unverifiable names on the voter list. This is 0.40 percent of eligible voters,” the MDP said.

However, the party accepts and will sign the voter registry as the percentage of irregularities are minor by international standards and as the constitution asks for an elected president by the end of the current presidential term on November 11, the party said.