The High Court on Thursday annulled the results of the poll conducted on January 18 for the island council of Gaaf Alif Kon’dey and ordered the Elections Commission (EC) to hold a revote.
The court ruled (Dhivehi) in favour of the complainant, Ali Ibrahim, who requested annulment after an 84-year-old man from Kon’dey was found to have cast his vote in the wrong ballot box.
Moosa Easa accidentally voted in the box designated for the neighbouring Dhandhoo’s island council.
While five candidates contested for the island council, the margin between the sixth and the fifth placed candidates was a single vote.
The three judges presiding over the case – Abbas Shareef, Abdulla Hameed, and Ali Sameer – ruled that the 84-year-old citizen was deprived of his constitutional right to vote and that his vote could have affected the outcome of the election.
The EC had originally scheduled a second round of voting in Kon’dey for February 15 between the two fifth-placed candidates who were tied with 88 votes each. The candidate in sixth place had received 87 votes.
The run-off election was however postponed pending a decision by the High Court.
The EC’s legal counsel, Haneefa Khalid, argued at the last hearing of the case that the 84-year-old was duly informed that he had voted in the wrong box.
However, the EC lawyer said, Moosa Easa did not return to vote in his constituency. She added that he had not submitted a complaint either.
Asked by a judge whether Easa’s vote could have affected the outcome, Khalid said there was no guarantee that he would have voted for the sixth placed candidate.
She revealed that the EC has decided to take action against the officials responsible for the mishap in Kon’dey. An investigation into the incident was ongoing to determine how Easa was given the wrong ballot paper, she added.
Khalid also noted that one vote would not have affected the outcome of the election for the Dhaandhoo island council as the margin between candidates was higher.