Additional reporting by Ahmed Nazeer
First-time voters, or eligible voters who wish to vote on Oct 19 somewhere other than their currently-registered location, must re-register.
Voter re-registration is open from 6:00pm-12:00am Wednesday Oct 9, and 9:00am-12:00am Thursday Oct 10. Forms are available at all island council offices, Addu City Council departments, diplomatic missions and at www.elections.gov.mv. In Malé forms will be accepted at the Elections Commission’s registration center on Handhuvaree Hingun.
Check your registration by SMSing 1414 ‘VIS ID#’, or call the hotline on the same number.
With the Elections Commission (EC) rapidly preparing to re-hold the presidential election’s first round October 19 in accordance with the timetable established by the Supreme Court verdict, Maldivians will have only 15 hours for re-registration.
The Supreme Court late Monday night (October 7) annulled the first round of the Maldives presidential election in a 4:3 decision. Citing a secret police report on alleged electoral irregularities, the court ordered fresh elections by October 20 with enhanced police and government involvement.
The Supreme Court verdict was issued despite unanimous positive assessment of the polling by more than a thousand local and international election observers, while the police report on which it was supposedly based has not been made public and was not shown to the EC’s defence lawyers.
In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the EC has decided to hold the presidential election on October 19, the commission announced yesterday.
“The commission is concerned and regrets the inconvenience that people might have to face because the election is close to the Eid holidays,” the EC noted.
Meanwhile, the government is preparing to shut down from October 11 until October 19 for the Eid al-Adha holidays.
In order to have the elections in the duration given by the Supreme Court, the EC can provide only one day for re-registration, said the commission.
The EC has appealed to all citizens who wish to re-register to do it as soon as the re-registration process is opened, which the commission announced would begin this evening.
Maldivians can re-register to vote from 6:00pm to 12:00am today and 9:00am to 6:00pm tomorrow, EC Secretary General Asim Abdul Sattar told local media.
Individuals who do not re-register during the allotted period will remain registered to vote in the location finalised in the second round’s voter registration list, said Sattar.
The EC will be accepting grievances and complaints, however they will not be able to provide a specific window of time to do so, he noted.
According to normal procedure the EC is legally required to provide a time-frame for complaints to be lodged prior to the re-registration process, however the commission’s dates are restricted due to the Supreme Court’s verdict, he added.
Re-registration is necessary for those intending to vote at a polling station other than that listed with the Elections Commission, such as a worker based on a resort island or student in Male. Similarly, Maldivians residing abroad are also required to re-register in order to vote in the country of residence.
Presidential candidates who ran in the first round of polling September 7 will not be asked to re-file their candidacy and no new candidates will be allowed to compete in the election, the EC Secretary General told local media.
Since presidential hopefuls cannot withdraw their candidacy, the order candidates will appear on the ballot paper will remain the same for the re-running of the first round.
“The candidates cannot withdraw their names once they are arranged [for the ballot paper],” said Sattar.
President Mohamed Waheed, who received 5.13 percent of votes in the September 7 election, has made no indication of a decision to change his participation in the re-run, Sattar noted. If President Waheed decides to recall his candidacy, the commission will make a decision after consulting with its legal department.
Waheed’s vice presidential running mate, Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, announced yesterday (October 8 ) that he intends to maintain his new alliance with the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) going into the re-scheduled presidential elections.
Thasmeen and his DRP announced their decision to support former President Mohamed Nasheed in the run-off, previously scheduled for September 28, days after Waheed received just five percent of the popular vote.
Repeat first round presidential candidates – in order of their ballot placement – are Gasim Ibrahim, Incumbent President Mohamed Waheed, Abdulla Yameen, and former President Mohamed Nasheed.
The Finance Ministry had agreed to provide MVR 30 million (US$1,939,230) to hold the election, EC Secretary General Asim Abdul Sattar told local media.
The commission’s calculations show that it will cost MVR 30 million (US$1,939,230) to print ballot papers, pay the officials and cover other costs, said Sattar.
The Finance Ministry had also agreed to provide MVR 27 million (US$1,747,575) for a second round runoff, if necessary.
The ministry will provide funds for the election as legally mandated, but some state-funded programs will have to be sacrificed to do so, Minister of Finance and Treasury Abdulla Jihad said yesterday.