The Elections Commission has delayed disbursing funds allocated for political parties in the 2015 state budget due to a delay in verifying the exact number of members in each political party.
A former MP for the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, has alleged the commission is delaying funds to obstruct political party activities.
The MDP, the Adhaalath Party and members of the Jumhooree Party have launched an antigovernment campaign over the imprisonment of ex-president Mohamed Nasheed and ex-defence minister Mohamed Nazim.
Some MVR19million (US$1.2million) has been allocated for political parties in the 2015 budget.
The 2013 Political Party Act states the state must allocate 0.1 – 0.2 percent of the budget for political parties. Funds must be disbursed within the first three months of the year according to the number of members in each party.
The parties must submit an annual report and an audit report before funds can be disbursed.
A spokesperson for the Elections Commission denied Thasmeen’s allegations and said the deadline for disbursing funds and the deadline for submitting the required documents to the commission fall on the same date.
“There was a delay in the verification of members of political parties as per the numbers stated in their annual reports. But we are now in the process of handing out the funds,” media officer, Fazla Ahmed said.
Commission member Ahmed Akram told CNM: “We are supposed to complete these two procedures within the first three months. So we need some time to check the reports. The commission doesn’t want to withhold the funds.”
There are 15 parties registered in the Maldives. Many are dysfunctional.
The commission in March fined the MDP and the opposition Adhaalath Party by MVR47,000 and MVR33,000 respectively on the charge of inciting violence in their then-daily protests.
The two parties have refused to pay the fines and asked the commission to review its decision. Fazla said today it has not made a decision on the appeal yet. The commission is authorized to deduct the sums from the annual payouts.
The commission has ruled a second mass protest by the opposition on May Day unlawful.