EC disputes allegations of discrimination from both MDP and PPM

The Elections Commission (EC) has hit back at criticism from several political parties, rejecting claims of discrimination against the parties.

In a press conference on Thursday, EC members and department heads claimed that the commission fully abides by laws and regulation, while undertaking the tasks mandated to the commission.

“We do not favor or provide any advantages to any political party,” EC Vice President Ahmed Fayaz contended.

EC made the comments following claims by both the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) that the commission was discriminating against the parties.

Speaking at the press conference, EC Director General Ahmed Tholal refuted claims made by MDP, which has complained that that the EC discriminates against the party when processing forms of party membership.

He clarified that the commission was processing the party membership forms based on the date of submission and assured that all the parties are treated equally.

“All the forms are processed as soon as they are submitted,” Tholal said, irrespective of which party it comes from.

EC President Fuad Thaufeeq meanwhile restated that the commission was not discriminating against PPM, while making an inquiry into the recent claim made by its leader Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom that “vote results does not turn out the way people want”.

Fuad noted that the issue has been resolved as Gayoom had later clarified in a letter to the EC that he did not imply that the commission is responsible for it.

However, PPM alleges EC of tarnishing peoples’ confidence in Gayoom and discriminating against the party.

PPM’s media committee president Mohamed Hussain ‘Mundhu’ Shareef has pointed out that court orders calling for a re-count of votes and deeming results of the first parliamentary elections under the 2009 constitution were false and suggest major flaws within the commission.

However, Shareef said that political parties have been asked to support the assumedly independent commission in carrying out certain duties.

“The delay in passing the political party bill is causing difficulties for EC, they have requested us (political parties) to expedite it, and EC also admitted having administrative problems,” he was quoted as saying to local media.

MDP Deputy Chairperson Mohamed ‘Inthi’ Imthiyaz meanwhile told local media that “some important decisions are made without discussing with all the parties and this is now how the commission should function.”

Inthi added that the EC had admitted its shortcomings and intends to resolve them.

MDP has also expressed concern that former secretary general of People’s Alliance Ahmed Shareef is inappropriately entrusted with EC’s administrative duties.

However, EC members countered that the commission is transparent, and functions do not discriminate against any party and are not subject to party influence.

All elections are free and fair and is conducted in the presence of political parties, independent observers and the media, they asserted.


PPM Submits 3600 forms to Elections Commission

The Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has submitted 3600 forms to the Elections Commission, 600 more more than the amount required to register a political party.

Media Coordinator of PPM and MP Ahmed Nihan said there were many more party registration forms filled which had not been submitted today, so as to hasten the registration procedure.

“If too many registration forms are submitted at once it will take a long time for the Elections Commission to approve all the forms. We just want to hasten the registration procedure and finish it soon so we can get on with our next steps,’’ Nihan said.

Nihan claimed that “many Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) members” and members from other parties have signed up for former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s new party, PPM.

‘’The additional 600 forms were because sometimes due to information errors or other errors forms get rejected, so as a backup to replace any form that might get rejected,’’ Nihan said adding that he believes that “all forms are genuine”.

Nihan said today at the Elections Commission building none of the commission members showed up to meet the senior PPM figures, and said he regretted the incident.

‘’When some particular persons go to register a political party, the commission members take them to the hall and serves food and juice with a warm welcome. It is very unfair,’’ He said. ‘’It is we who appointed them for the commission and today the commission members were like a selfish soothsayer who pops his head out from the window when a normal person goes to see him.’’

He said that several parliamentarians and other senior figures in the PPM went today to the parliament to submit the relevant forms. Currently there were 14 MPs in the party and “very soon” the number would reach 20 or 21, he added.

President of the Elections Commisison Fuad Thaufeeq today told Minivan News that it was true that no commission member met with the PPM delegation.

‘’The commission has always treated all political parties equally and has applied the same procedure on all the parties, we always meet with senior officials of parties when the first 50 forms are submitted to the commission, and we met with senior officials from the PPM when they submitted the first 50 forms,’’ Fuad said.

Fuad explained that the forms will always be received by the staffs at the reception.

‘’The next time commission members meet with senior officials will be the day when the registration process is concluded and the 3000 forms are approved,’’ he said. ‘’That is the procedure we apply for all the political parties.’’

He said that the commission was free from influence and pressure and could not be pressured or influenced.