A second round of voting in the local council elections will take place in four islands on February 15, the Elections Commission (EC) has announced.
Speaking at a press conference held yesterday to announce official results of the January 18 polls, EC President Fuwad Thowfeek said a second round was needed in four island council races where candidates in fifth place were tied with the same number of votes.
Run-of elections will take place in Haa Alif Muraidhoo, Baa Fehendhoo, Raa Maakurath and Gaaf Alif Kodey.
Thowfeek also revealed that the EC has annulled the results of the Noonu Miladhoo island council election after it emerged that disappearing ink might have been used.
Following an investigation by the National Complaints Bureau, the EC decided that the issue could have affected the outcome of the vote, Thowfeek said.
In addition to Miladhoo, voting for the Gaaf Alif Villigili constituency atoll council seats has also been scheduled for February 15.
The Villigili poll was delayed by the EC to afford a candidate adequate time to campaign after his disqualification by the commission was overturned by the Supreme Court.
The candidate in question had however withdrawn his candidacy following the EC’s decision to delay the poll.
On the second round of voting, EC member Ali Mohamed Manik told the press that ballot boxes will be placed in the islands and Male’.
Manik added that the commission had not made a decision concerning voters in the constituencies registered to vote elsewhere in the country.
However, the EC cannot allow re-registration for the second round, Manik said.
Victory for MDP amidst low turnout
EC President Thowfeek also revealed that the turnout on January 18 was 64.5 percent, down from the 70 percent turnout in the first local council elections that took place in February 2011.
Of 240,220 eligible voters, 154,942 voters cast their ballots, Thowfeek noted.
While turnout in some islands exceeded 80 percent, participation in some constituencies of the capital was as low as 30 percent.
A total of 2,463 candidates contested in the January 18 polls for 1,100 seats – 951 island council seats, 132 atoll council seats, and 17 city council seats.
Thowfeek noted that 72 female councillors were elected in the second local council elections, which accounted for six percent of the winning candidates.
According to the official results, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) won the most number of seats.
The main opposition party fielded 901 candidates and won 458 seats, including eight out of 11 seats in the Male’ City Council and all six seats of the Addu City Council. The two cities together account for 40 percent of the voting population.
The MDP also performed well in other population hubs such as Kulhudhufushi in the north and Fuvahmulah in the south.
The ruling ‘Progressive Coalition’ – composed of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Jumhooree Party (JP) and the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) – fielded 934 candidates and won 456 seats.
The PPM took 277 seats, followed by the JP with 123 seats and the MDA with 56 seats.
Of the 543 independent candidates, 133 were elected. The Adhaalath Party meanwhile fielded 83 candidates and secured 45 seats.
The religious conservative party campaigned independently of the government coalition as it was not an official coalition partner with a formal agreement.
The Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party meanwhile fielded two candidates and won one council seat.