The Elections Commission (EC) has announced the final results from the first round of the presidential election held September 7.
The EC announced the results yesterday (September 14) after the High Court rejected the Jumhooree Party’s (JP) request for an injunction to halt the announcement.
Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidential candidate and former President Mohamed Nasheed placed first, winning 95,224 votes, or 45.45 percent.
Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) candidate Abdulla Yameen – an MP and half-brother of former autocratic President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom – received 25.35 percent,or 53,099 votes, to place second.
While the EC’s final results page showed these figures – identical to those released preliminarily on September 8 – local media outlet Sun Online reported that Yameen had received 54,099 votes – a discrepancy of 1,000 votes.
Gasim Ibrahim – resort tycoon, owner of Villa TV (VTV), MP, and JP leader – placed a close third at 24.07 percent, with 50,422 votes.
Gasim and his Jumhooree ‘Gulhun’ (coalition) – consisting of the Islamist Adhaalath Party (AP), the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), as well as former PPM Vice President Umar Naseer – have contested the election results and are seeking a recount through the High Court and Supreme Court, in addition to staging protests accusing the EC of negligence and vote rigging.
Incumbent President Dr Mohamed Waheed suffered a resounding defeat, securing 5.13 percent or 10,750 votes. Waheed contested the election as an independent candidate, following controversy over whether his Gaumee Ithihaad Party (GIP) had the minimum 10,000 members required under new political party regulation.
Yesterday Waheed announced GIP will support the PPM in the presidential election run-off, although he will be stepping down as head of the party.
The announcement of the GIP backing the PPM comes days after the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) announced its support for Nasheed and the MDP during the second round of voting. The DRP had backed Waheed in the first round vote, with party leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali standing as the incumbent’s running mate.
Since no candidate received more than 50 percent of the total turnout, a second round run-off election between the top two candidates – Nasheed and Yameen – will be held on September 28.
Dead voters found alive
The EC also announced that eight deceased individuals the JP had claimed to be on the electoral register had been found alive.
The JP had submitted the alleged list of deceased individuals to court, according to local media.
The commission has determined that the eight people did cast ballots and have confirmed that five are living, EC Vice Chair Ahmed Fayaz told local media. The commission has received information that the other three individuals are also alive, but the EC has not yet been able to meet them.
Fayaz told local media last week that the EC had previously rejected a voter list provided by the Department of National Registration prior to polling because it listed people who are still alive as deceased.
“They give us a list, [stating that] these 1,200 people are dead. If we deduct these 1,200 people [from the voter registry] without reviewing, an extra 400 people will come to vote,” said Fayaz.
However, the Jumhooree Party has now accused the EC Vice Chair of “outright lies”, claiming that the coalition did not submit a list of eight supposedly deceased individuals included in the electoral register to the EC.
“We call on Fayaz not to engage in such lies. We ask the EC to work independently,” said Ibraim Khaleel, Gasim’s spokesperson and former Villa TV chief executive officer.
No grounds for recount
Meanwhile, in response to representatives from the JP, the PPM, and President Waheed calling for a recount of all ballot boxes during an Elections National Advisory Committee meeting held Thursday (September 12), the EC stated that the alleged vote discrepancy was not enough to call for a recount of all 470 ballot boxes.
The law states there are two instances where ballot boxes may be recounted: 1) If the EC decides the voting process was compromised and decides to conduct a recount to address a complaint(s); 2) If there is a court order issued for a recount, EC Vice Chair Fayaz explained to local media.
MDP’s representative on the National Advisory Committee insisted there were no grounds to warrant a vote recount and argued that the JP noted no issues during polling.
President Waheed has said he is “very concerned” about “some very serious allegations regarding the election” and urged these issues be resolved “by the respective legal and judicial venues”.
However, EC Chair Fuwad Thowfeek has emphatically dismissed the JP’s allegations of rampant vote-rigging, pointing to the commission’s transparency, ongoing complaints investigations, and the praise from a broad spectrum of election observers who noted peaceful voting throughout the day and the preparedness of the EC.
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”.
The UK and the EU have both issued statements praising the conduct of Saturday’s presidential election, describing them as “transparent and competitive”.