President calls for parties to cease attempts to obstruct election

President Mohamed Waheed has urged parties “not to act in a fashion that obstructs holding of the election and to prioritise national interest over personal interest”.

Waheed made the statement after the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) and Jumhooree Party (JP) this morning failed to sign the voter registry by the Elections Commission’s sunrise deadline.

Signing of the registry by the candidates is a new demand contained in the Supreme Court’s guidelines for the election, following its annullment of the first round of polls shortly before midnight on October 7.

At a press conference this morning EC Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek said the JP and PPM had not sent nominees to sign the registry. Thowfeek said he had contacted Supreme Court Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz about the lack of response from the two candidates: “He told me to keep trying. Send people to their homes and keep trying. He did not say what else we should do.”

The PPM has subsequently demanded fingerprint verification of 10 percent of re-registration forms – nearly 7000, each with four fingerprints – a process the EC has said would take at least 20 days, missing the court’s October 20 deadline for the election.

President Waheed has meanwhile called on “all parties to cooperate and support the holding of a free and fair election as per the order of the Supreme Court.

“I call on the elections commission, political parties participating in the election and all relevant institutions together, to solve the challenges faced at the moment to create an atmosphere conducive to a free and fair election,” Waheed stated.

“It is also my request that arrangements of elections should be made in such a fashion that no citizen of the country has his right to vote undermined or deprived. On this occasion, I urge everyone not to act in a fashion that obstructs holding of the election and to prioritise national interest over personal interest,” he added.

Foreign Ambassadors and teams of international election observation are already present in the Maldives in expectation of an election being held tomorrow.

The nine-member Commonwealth observation team, led by former Prime Minister of Malta Dr Lawrence Gonzi, has already been deployed across the Maldives.

I hope that all Maldivians will play their part to ensure that the 19 October election is conducted in a credible and peaceful manner, so that the people of Maldives can exercise their fundamental right to choose their President,” said Dr Gonzi in a statement on Thursday.

The Commonwealth Observer Group to the 2013 Maldives elections will submit its final report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will in turn send it to the government of the Maldives, the Elections Commission of Maldives, Maldivian political parties and eventually to all Commonwealth governments.

The nine-member Commonwealth Observer Group has been in Malé since 16 October, and will stay until 23 October. It is supported by officials of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Besides Dr Gonzi the delegation includes South African Human Rights Commissioner Lindiwe Mokate, former Australian diplomat Hugh Craft, former Ghanaian minister Elizabeth Ohene, Jamaican governance expert professor Lisa Vasciannie, former Malaysian MP Yusmadi Yusoff, New Zealand MP Kate Wilkinson, UK elections expert John Turner, and Papua New Guinea’s Registrar of Political Parties, Dr Alphonse Gelu.