EC receives complaints of damage to campaign banners and posters

Read this article in Dhivehi

The Elections Commission (EC) has said that it is receiving complaints of damage being done to campaign material – such as posters and banners – from most candidates contesting in the parliamentary elections.

The commission requested people not do anything that could violate the electoral rights of candidates, and called upon both candidates and supporters to work according to the code of conduct given in Article 23 of the “People’s Majlis Election Regulation 2013”.

EC president Fuwad Thowfeek said that the commission was receiving a number of such complaints everyday, particularly from Malé City.

“Such acts could disrupt social harmony, and we request everyone refrain from doing any such thing. Parliamentary candidates want to serve the public, and involvement in such things is not a very good start, said Thowfeek.

“While it is not our first preference, we will have to take legal action too. We will seek police assistance in controlling such things.”

He requested that campaigners paste posters only where it is permitted according to the regulations. During the presidential elections in 2013, the EC received a number of complaints regarding anti-campaigning, though Thowfeek noted that no such issues had come up this time.

“But we urge candidates and supporter to refrain from anti-campaigning. We will take action against them,” Fuwad said.

Last week, the Adhaalath Party issued a statement condemning acts violating their Hulhuhenveiru candidate Dr Mohamed Iyaz’s electoral rights. The party claimed that posters of some Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidates were pasted over Iyaz’s posters and that his campaign banners were cut down.

The MDP candidate for Henveiru North, MP Abdulla Shahid, has also filed a similar complaint with the EC. Shahid’s campaign office said that his campaign posters and banners in the Henveiru North area were ripped and replaced with Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidates’ campaign material.

Campaign activities for the parliamentary elections are escalating as the election scheduled for 22 March draws near.  A total of 316 candidates are competing for 85 seats this election, more than sixty percent of candidates representing political parties.

Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency requested that all contestants ensure that campaign material does not litter the streets of the country, as was often the case during the presidential poll.

Th opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) is running for all 85 seats, while the ruling PPM has divided the seats among their coalition members, with the party retaining just 50 seats.

The remaining seats were divided between Jumhooree Party and the Maldives Development Alliance. The Adhaalath Party and the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party are also competing in the election, while 125 independent candidates will also contest.

EC yesterday opened for voters re-registration for those intending to vote at a polling station other than that listed with the commission. The deadline for re-registration is 28 February.


‘Fat lies’ in leaked letters supporting bribery allegations: Yameen

People’s Alliance party leader Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom says letters published on a Dhivehi language website contain “fat lies” and that he had never asked a MDP Majlis member to join his political party, reports Haveeru.

Seven letters were sent recently to President Nasheed by MDP Majlis members claiming Yameen and Jumhooree party leader Ibrahim Gasim had tried to bribe them. The letters in PDF format published on the website are two letters signed by Hulhumeedhoo Majlis member Ilyas Labeeb, and five letters signed individually by Madaveli member Mohamed Nazim, Kedhikulhudhoo member Ahmed Eesa, Thinadhoo member Mohamed Gasam, Machangoalhi-South member Mohamed Rasheed and Baarashu member Mohamed Shifaz.

At the end of last month, letters were presented as evidence by the police at the High Court as evidence supporting charges of treason and bribery against Yameen and Gasim, but Haveeru ‘could not confirm if the letters are the same’. The letters on the website claim that Yameen and Gasim offered ‘rewards’ if the MDP Majlis members join the opposition People’s Alliance and Jumhooree Party, according to Haveeru. Mohamed Gasam confirmed the credibility of his letter and said it was sent to the President because of offers he had been receiving from Gasim since February.

Ilyas Labeeb told Haveeru he had not seen the leaked letters, but when the contents of the two letters signed with his name were read out, he confirmed that he had written a letter “to that effect”.  President’s Office press secretary Mohamed Zuhair told Haveeru he could not confirm the credibility of the letters. “I have also seen the letters,” said Zuhair. “I cannot say whether the [leaked] letters were the letters sent by the MPs [to the President], since the investigation is underway.”