Gasim’s remarks vindicate MDP’s stance on “coup”: MP Imthiyaz

Gasim Ibrahim’s revelations of pressure from within the judiciary and the security services to endorse President Abdulla Yameen’s candidacy vindicate allegations of a “coup d’etat” on February 7, 2012, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Imthiyaz Fahmy ‘Inthi’ has said.

The Jumhooree Party (JP) leader said last week that he was urged to support Yameen by judges as well as police and army officers.

Gasim had claimed at a press conference on Tuesday (June 17) that he decided to back the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate in the presidential election run-off in November 2013 after the requests “for the sake” of the institutions.

Speaking to Minivan News, MP Imthiyaz noted that the MDP had maintained that “sections of the judiciary, the military and the police were part of the coup and the subsequent unlawful and unconstitutional interference in the presidential and the parliamentary elections.”

“Now this truth is coming straight from the horse’s mouth,” the re-elected MP for Maafanu North observed.

“If the judiciary, the military and the police were to decide who should hold the office of the president then it gives a horrifying message. And in fact it happened as they demanded, thus people’s power was violated.”


Gasim had said that judges as well as police and army officers had met him personally and appealed to him to support the PPM candidate.

“Otherwise we had been silent [on endorsing a candidate] and neutral. We made that decision after considering the unrest and instability and possible harm to the public caused by the rising political tension,” the business tycoon had said.

He also claimed to have spent MVR20 million on Yameen’s campaign in the three days leading up to the run-off polls on November 16.

After finishing in third place with 23.27 percent of the vote in the repeat first round of the presidential election, Gasim initially announced that the JP would not back either candidate.

However, the JP’s council reversed its decision to remain neutral following a meeting between Gasim and PPM leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed had emerged the frontrunner in the first round revote with 46.93 percent while Yameen polled 29.73 percent.

After endorsing Yameen, Gasim told the press that the JP decided to form a coalition with the PPM in order to “[overcome] the challenges faced by police, military and the judiciary, to save them from undeserved allegations made against them by certain groups, to maintain the independence of this Ummah [Islamic community] and nation, and for the protection of our religion and motherland.”

Meanwhile, at last week’s press conference, JP Deputy Leader Ilham Ahmed insisted that the police, army, and judiciary would “bear witness” to the truth of Gasim’s claim.

However, online news outlet CNM has since reported that the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) has denied asking the JP leader to back Yameen while the police declined to comment.

Troubled polls

Last year’s presidential election was marred by repeated delays, multiple cancellations, a Supreme Court-ordered annulment and police obstruction.

On October 7, the Supreme Court annulled the results of the first round of the polls conducted on September 7 in a controversial 4-3 decision – citing a confidential police report – despite unanimous positive assessment of the polling by more than a thousand domestic and international election observers.

While the secret police report alleging irregularities – which was not shared with the Election Commission’s (EC) defence lawyers – was dismissed by a UN expert review, the credibility of the evidence cited by the apex court was also questioned by the Human Rights Commission of Maldives after it emerged that some citizens were incorrectly recorded as being deceased.

The Supreme Court’s decision came after Gasim sought annulment of the first round results alleging widespread electoral fraud.

In what was the EC’s sixth attempt in two months to conduct polls, Yameen narrowly defeated Nasheed with 51.39 percent of the vote (111,203) to the MDP candidate’s 48.61 percent (105,181).

In January, Nasheed told reporters that the MDP suspected electoral fraud using fake national identity cards in November’s polls, contending that non-existent people were added to the database at the Department of National Registration (DNR) as part of “efforts to rig the election through the Supreme Court.”

MP Imthiyaz meanwhile noted that Gasim has now “publicly admitted” that judges met the business tycoon seeking his endorsement of the PPM candidate.

“What do you expect when an election case goes before the court at the request of the court itself? This was how the country’s democracy was completely destroyed,” Imthiyaz said.


Supreme Court guidelines undermine EC’s independence: Fuwad Thowfeek

The 16-point guideline for conducting elections imposed by the Supreme Court on the Elections Commission (EC) has undermined the institution’s independence, EC President Fuwad Thowfeek told MPs on the government oversight committee yesterday.

In a meeting with the opposition-majority oversight committee to discuss budget constraints, Thowfeek said he did not believe the EC was fully independent as some of its powers and responsibilities were transferred to other institutions by the Supreme Court judgment that annulled the September 7 presidential poll.

“For example, having to consider the Department of National Registration’s (DNR) list as the basis in preparing voters list and compelling us to use a person from the police service to transport [election-related] material from one place to another,” he said.

Thowfeek also referred to the cancellation of polls in last year’s presidential election after candidates from the Progressive Party of Maldives and Jumhooree Party refused to sign the voters list, which was among the requirements imposed by the apex court.

As the Finance Ministry has not released funds allocated in the state budget for conducting the upcoming parliamentary election, Thowfeek said that financial constraints were also an impediment to the commission’s work.

Lack of financial independence poses difficulties and “restrictions”, he added.

EC members expressed concern at yesterday’s committee meeting over having to make individual requests to the Finance Ministry to pay bills and settle other expenses incurred in preparations for the polls.

Asked by MP Visam Ali if the commission was able to comply with the Public Finance Act and regulations under the law while it was forced to depend on the ministry for expenses, Thowfeek said the EC was being told to disregard provisions of the law.

“I have to say again that the first [institution] to do this was the Supreme Court. As far as I know, the sumoto mechanism they have made to prosecute Elections Commission members is against the constitution of the Maldives,” he said.

The EC did not have “any other option or choice” when the Finance Ministry instructs the commission to disregard the public finance law, Thowfeek said.

If the EC refuses on the grounds that “it’s against the law”, Thowfeek continued, there was a fear that the parliamentary election could not be held as scheduled on March 22.

Contempt of court

On February 12, the Supreme Court summoned EC members and began a surprise trial on charges of contempt of court.

The apex court invoked new ‘Sumoto’ – or ‘Suo motu’ – regulations that allow the court to initiate hearings and act as both prosecutor and judge in a trial.

The court contends that criticism by EC members of its decision to annul the first round of last year’s presidential election – citing a secret police report that has since been dismissed by a UN expert review and questioned by the Human Rights Commission of Maldives – constituted contempt of court.

At the last hearing of the trial, Supreme Court Justices used testimony given to the oversight committee to implicate EC members in contempt of court.

Article 90 of the constitution says no person will be subject to any inquiry, arrest, detention, or prosecution with respect to anything said in the People’s Majlis or any of its committees if such a statement is not contrary to tenet of Islam.

However, Supreme Court Justice Ahmed Abdulla Didi contended that the EC’s testimony at the committee obstructed justice – which he argued was a tenet of Islam – and could therefore be used in a court.

Asked by Committee Chair MP Ali Waheed if commission members were aware of the punishment for contempt for court, EC member Ali Mohamed Manik said he was informed by the commission’s legal team that there was no law specifying a penalty for contempt of court.

“They said there is no punishment. So I’m hoping that we haven’t committed a crime and there won’t be a punishment,” he said.

Manik referred to Article 223 of the constitution, which states that the supervision and prosecution of all criminal offences was the responsibility of the prosecutor general.

“But we didn’t see the prosecutor general there. We answered questions put to us by Supreme Court judges,” he said.


“Everything is in order” for Maldives’ presidential election runoff: EC

Polls open on Saturday at 7:30am and close at 4:00pm. Counting will start 30 minutes after polls close. Check where you are registered to vote using the EC’s 1414 SMS system (text 1414 in the format ‘VIS [National ID #]’, or by visiting the EC’s website.

Final preparations are underway and “everything is in order” for the Maldives’ Elections Commission to hold tomorrow’s presidential election second round runoff, says the commission.

Saturday’s (November 16) vote will mark the sixth time the Elections Commission (EC) has prepared to hold presidential polls over the last two months.

While last Saturday’s (November 9) first round revote was conducted without incident – and showed nearly identical results to the annulled September 7 first round – the November 10 runoff was halted by an early morning Supreme Court order.

“Everything is in order” for a free, fair, inclusive and transparent poll to take place tomorrow, EC Chairperson Fuwad Thowfeek told Minivan News today (November 15).

“Both the presidential candidates’ appointees signed [the voter registry] yesterday. The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) finished at 4:00pm, while the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) finished at 8:15pm,” he noted.

EC Director General Mohamed Shakeel echoed these sentiments speaking to Minivan News today.

“The Elections Commission is prepared for the runoff tomorrow,” said Shakeel. “All [voter] lists are now off to the atolls and abroad. Some have already been delivered to the atoll islands.”

He also noted that elections officials’ training was completed Thursday night and they are “now off to their assigned islands and countries”.

“Personally I believe we are ready for a free, fair, inclusive and transparent poll tomorrow,” Shakeel concluded.

Polling will take place from 7:30am to 4:00pm tomorrow, he added.

The Maldives Police Service is working alongside the EC to transport ballot papers and other materials in preparation for tomorrow’s presidential run-off, according to local media.

The EC also announced earlier this week that voters left-hand ring fingers will be marked in tomorrow’s election, with the right and left-hand forefingers having been marked in the two previous polls on September 7 and October 9.

Uphold electoral laws: EC

Meanwhile, the commission has asked all stakeholders to adhere to elections laws and regulations while campaigning, and not to undermine the electoral rights of any candidate.

In particular, the EC urged the public at large to not engage in anti-campaigning and/or propagating false information against either presidential candidate and reiterated that all campaigning must cease by today’s 6:00pm deadline.

The commission will take action against any individual or group that violates these electoral laws, the EC also noted in a press statement released yesterday.

The European Union said yesterday that it is prepared to consider “appropriate measures” should Saturday’s run-off election be subverted, and the country fall into authoritarianism.

Past presidential polls

Prior to the November 9 revote, the Elections Commission called upon “all friends of democracy to help us deliver a free, fair, transparent and inclusive presidential election as scheduled”.

The September 7 first round poll received a unanimous positive assessment by more than a thousand local and international election observers, before Jumhooree Party (JP)’s leader, Gasim Ibrahim, who placed third in the poll refused to accept the results.

After agreeing to hear Gasim’s complaints, the Supreme Court then issued an injunction on September 23 to indefinitely delay the presidential election’s second round, before the police physically halted the EC’s ongoing preparations for the September 28 run-off.

The Supreme Court ultimately ruled to annul the first round – citing a secret police report which alleged electoral fraud, but was never presented to the EC’s lawyers – and delineated 16 guidelines to hold a revote by October 20.

With just 11 days to prepare for the next round of the presidential election – a process that usually requires a minimum of 45 days – the Supreme Court issued subsequent rulings dictating managerial and administrative tasks the EC must undertake while preparing for the repeat first round.

The apex court’s guidelines also mandated police play a substantive role in handling the logistics and security of the election and ballot papers, as well as demanded that all parties sign the voter lists, effectively giving presidential candidates veto power.

The day before the scheduled October 19 election, candidates Abdulla Yameen and Gasim had still not signed the voter lists and were not responding to phone calls from the EC or officials sent to their homes. The pair subsequently demanded extensive fingerprint verification of the new voters’ registry – another stipulation of the Supreme Court midnight rulings.

The same evening both candidates sought a Supreme Court ruling demanding that the election be delayed.

Receiving only a brief instruction from the court to follow its guidelines, the EC prioritised the guideline requiring an election before Oct 20 and proceeded with the vote.

However, an hour before polls were due to open on October 19 police obstructed EC staff attempting to leave the commission’s office with ballot documents and equipment – later stating that police had decided not to provide cooperation to the EC as it had not followed the 16-point guidelines imposed by the court.

The Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) has since concluded that police illegally blocked the EC from conducting the re-vote of the presidential election on October 19 in contravention of the constitution, the Police Act, and the Elections Act.

Following the rescheduling of the election for November 9 – just two days before the end of the presidential term – Elections Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek labelled the Supreme Court’s guidelines “restrictions” and expressed concern that they effectively allowed political parties to stop elections from happening.

Amidst presidential elections preparations, the EC has also published by-laws regarding local council elections to take place in December.


President says he is “unconcerned” as Maldives back on CMAG formal agenda

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) has decided to place the Maldives back on its formal agenda, “pending the holding of a credible election on 16 November and the inauguration of a new president”.

President Dr Mohamed Waheed is meanwhile quoted in local media as saying, “Let CMAG decide whatever they will” and that his concern is about having Maldivians “approach elections in a satisfied manner”.

CMAG discussed the situation in Maldives in a meeting held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Wednesday, three days ahead of the scheduled polling day for the presidential run-off in the Maldives.

According to their official statement, “ministers expressed their deep disappointment that the Maldives presidential election process had not concluded prior to the expiration of the President’s term in office on 11 November 2013”.

As the constitutionally mandated date for the swearing in of a new elected president – November 11 – passed, incumbent President Waheed announced that he would remain in office as per a verdict released by the Supreme Court.

Waheed’s decision – based on a Supreme Court verdict signed by the four judges who had annulled the initial September 7 presidential election – contradicts a parliamentary motion passed to appoint the speaker of parliament as an interim president, citing Article 124 of the constitution as a basis.

“The Group noted that the breach of the 11 November constitutional deadline to inaugurate a new president followed repeated delays to the electoral process, as a result of annulment by the Supreme Court of the first-round election on 7 September and the failure to proceed with three further elections on 28 September, 19 October and 10 November,” the statement read.

“Despite this serious setback to the democratic process, CMAG was pleased to note that domestic and international observers, including the Commonwealth Observer Group, had found the first-round presidential election held on 9 November to be credible.”

“Ministers emphasised the urgency of ensuring a swift conclusion to the electoral process. In this regard, CMAG stressed the importance of the second-round election taking place as scheduled on 16 November, in a credible and peaceful manner, and of the newly elected president being inaugurated promptly thereafter.”

“Election delay is not reason enough to place on agenda”: President

Waheed has been quoted in local media as saying he did not accept that the delay in electing a president prior to November 11 is reason enough for CMAG to place the country back on its formal agenda.

He also revealed today that he would be leaving the country indefinitely tomorrow evening, suggesting that there was nothing he could not handle over the phone prior to his promised resignation on Saturday evening.

“The objective of placing the Maldives on its formal agenda is to push for elections still. To pressure Maldivians to elect a president and swear him in soon,” he said, adding that election preparations are “already proceeding very smoothly here”.

“I don’t think that it is because CMAG says, or Commonwealth says, or some foreign government says that we should do things. We should do things as we feel right, as is in the best interests, and in a way we can achieve the best possible results. In whatever way is best for citizens,” Waheed said.

“This country has been divided into two. None of them can rule this country without the other. Whoever wins will need to talk to the other side, and include them in their work. It must not be done in a manner where half the country rules, and the other half is sidelined. That will never bring peace and fulfillment,” he stated.

He said that it is in the best interests of the nation to hold the second round of elections next Saturday, and regardless of how small a margin the election is won with, the winning candidate must be allowed to stay on.

Maldives was previously placed on the CMAG formal agenda in February 2012 – following the controversial transfer of power, and was removed from it on April 2013.

Today’s CMAG statement concluded urging the presidential candidates, the security services, and other state institutions to extend full co-operation to the Elections Commission so that it is “free to carry out its constitutionally-mandated role and the people of Maldives are able to exercise their fundamental right to elect their president”.


Elections Commission announces re-registration deadline of 8:00pm

The Elections Commission (EC) has announced a deadline of 8:00pm tonight for citizens wishing to vote outside their home island in the run-off election scheduled for November 16 to submit re-registration forms.

Voter details can be checked in the Maldives by sending an SMS to 1414 in the format ‘VIS [ID#]’, or by calling the helpline on the same number.

Registration details can also be checked online at


Maldives Decides 2013 – The re-vote

The Maldives returned to the polls today, after weeks of delay and brinkmanship following the Supreme Court’s annulment of the initial first round held on September 7.

Today’s vote sees the Maldivian Democratic Party’s former President Mohamed Nasheed facing off against the Progressive Party of Maldives’ Abdulla Yameen, and the Jumhooree Party’s Gasim Ibrahim.

Nasheed had been set to face the Yameen (25.35 percent), half brother of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in a run-off on September 28. However the vote was suspended by the Supreme Court after third-placed candidate, resort tycoon Gasim (24.07 percent), filed a case alleging vote rigging – despite unanimous positive assessments by more than 1000 local and international election observers.

Current President Dr Mohamed Waheed, whose name appeared on the ballot on September 7, has subsequently withdrawn his candidacy after receiving just five percent of the popular vote in the initial polling.

After the court had ordered the first round to be repeated on October 19, the vote was again delayed after both Gasim and Yameen refused to place their signatures – a provision mandated in the Supreme Court ruling – on the revised electoral register.

With the term of the current president due to end on Monday (November 11), a second round run-off – if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote – will take place tomorrow.

This blog is no longer live: Minivan News will continue live updates for tomorrow’s scheduled run-off


MDP: 96,764 (46.93%)
PPM: 61,278 (29.72%)
JP: 48,131 (23.34%)

Total votes cast were 208,504 of which 2331 were deemed void, leaving a total of 206,173 valid votes out of 239,105 eligible voters.

3:25am – The US Department of State has released a statement urging the second round to take place immediately:

For democracy in Maldives to move forward, it is essential to build upon the successful November 9th election and immediately proceed with the required and previously agreed upon second round. U.S. and international observers viewed the peaceful and active voter participation as a clear indication of the Maldivians’ desire for a democratic transition. The positive result of November 9 yet again demonstrates the consistency and capacity of the Elections Commission to deliver a quality electoral process.

It is now imperative that the second round take place immediately and in line with Elections Commission directions in order to ensure the Maldivian people are led by an elected president of their choice.

To delay second round voting beyond the constitutional requirements for a new government by November 11 will create uncertainties that may destabilize Maldives.

It is unreasonable and unacceptable for parties to continue to demand changes to an agreed election date. Voters deserve a greater degree of predictability over something as serious as a presidential election. Changing the goalposts is unfair to Maldivian voters; we believe Maldivians deserve better.

2:55am – During a press conference, the Elections Commission said it was working towards holding the second round on November 10 as scheduled, but said a lack of cooperation from one candidate was holding up preparations.

“We are working to hold the second round tomorrow but the times may have to be changed. We want to hold it tomorrow as it was agreed by the three candidates and the president and all the concerned authorities,” said EC President Fuwad Thowfeek.

The PPM had agreed to sign the lists [for the run-off] but had not been heard of since, the EC said.

“We kept saying that November 16 would have been better for the run off, but the president and the candidates asked for the 10th. We agreed on the 10th at a meeting with the president and party representatives,” said Thowfeek.

The EC said doing the election preparations all over again would be costly, “so we are trying to find a way to hold the second round on the 10th.”

Ballot papers had already been printed and sent abroad, while the lists had also been sent overseas with the exception of two polling stations. Lists could be sent up until midday, the EC said.

The EC noted that a case was still going on at the Supreme Court. Asked about the financial losses as a result of a delay, the EC said officials sent abroad would have to return and new lists would have to be prepared. The estimated cost of the delay would be MVR 25 million (US$1.6 million), the EC estimated.

1.49am – Preliminary results on the Elections Commission’s website following the counting of the ballots show:

MDP: 96,747 (46.93%) +1.48% on Sept 7 (+1523 votes)
PPM: 61,295 (29.73%) +4.38% on Sept 7 (+8196 votes)
JP: 48,131 (23.34%) -0.73% on Sept 7 (-2291 votes)

Total votes cast were 208,504 of which 2331 were deemed void, leaving a total of 206,173 valid votes out of 239,105 eligible voters.

This equates to an 86 percent voter turnout – two percent less than the annulled September 7 poll – suggesting that early fears on Saturday about low voter turnout were misplaced and many people instead queued throughout the day rather than lining up to vote early.

The results correlate strongly with those of the annulled September 7 poll, which saw Nasheed receive 45.45 percent of the vote, Yameen 25.35 percent, Gasim 24.07 percent and incumbent President Mohamed Waheed 5.13 percent of the vote.

Waheed later withdrew from the polls, and his coalition partner the Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) defected to Nasheed’s MDP. However it seems that the vast majority of Waheed’s votes transferred to the Yameen’s PPM, taking him up to almost 30 percent in Saturday’s poll.

Minivan News observed that no two local media outlets who did their own counting appeared to have the same figures, or figures matching the EC’s results exactly.

1:30am – The Elections Commission press conference is due to begin shortly.

12:30am – Speaking to Minivan News, Nasheed warned that “if we don’t have elections tomorrow there is a serious risk of indefinite delay as now Waheed is asked to stay on by the Supreme Court. Our opponents know that they will lose in a fair fight.”

“In my view if the international community says that they will not recognise Waheed after November 11 then we will have elections. Then again it’s very difficult to see the international community doing the right thing. We are in this mess because they recognised a rebel government in February 2012,” he said.

12:00pm –

The Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Sir Donald McKinnon, noted this evening that he was pleased that the 9 November Maldives presidential election was able to take place today in a calm and peaceful manner.

“All initial reports suggest that this was a good election, and I look forward to hearing the more definitive reports of domestic and international observers shortly. The Elections Commission should be commended for its consistency in delivering another well-managed and credible election.

“I commend all stakeholders for ensuring that the Maldivian people were able to have their say at the ballot box today in a seemingly free and fair manner.

“It is important now that the electoral process move forward swiftly to its conclusion, with the holding of the second round.

“It is unreasonable and unacceptable for parties to continue to demand changes to an agreed election date. Voters deserve better from their leaders and a greater degree of predictability over something as serious as a presidential election.

“Any further delays would create uncertainty for the voters, place extra demands on the Elections Commission and lower people’s confidence in the country’s democratic institutions.

10:45pm – Yameen has held a press conference and indicated that he would not sign the voter registry for the run-off polls.

Yameen said, “No, election is not going to happen tomorrow. Simple reason being that the Elections Commission is not prepared for that. Elections Commission does not have a list that has been pre-signed by the candidates. What they have is a fresh list. So a fresh list for us to review and sign, for verification we need at least 48 hours. So the list they have we are not sure whether that is the list they had for today’s voting.

“So until and unless we are able to ascertain that this is the same list, we are unable to sign that. So the Elections Commission is not prepared. What they are claiming is that they have the same list but unfortunately if it were the same list our signatures or our representatives’ signatures would have been on the list. But unfortunately these are fresh sheets. So we are not sure whether this is the same list we used for voting today. So primarily it is a shortcoming on the part of the Elections Commission. It’s nothing to do with PPM or any other party.”

Yameen said the election can take place “as soon as we are able to verify the list. We have asked for something like 48 hours, because we are talking in excess of about 240,000 people. So soon as the Elections [Commission] is able to provide us this timeframe we are prepared to go to an election. Hopefully any time within the range of November 13 to 15. Any time after November 13 we are happy.”

The PPM candidate claimed Gasim had expressed his support, along with his coalition partner the Adhaalath Party.

“Tomorrow we will sit down with Gasim. He has expressed support to us. Also the adhaalath party has expressed support, [Yameen’s running mate] Dr Jameel has been in contact with them.

10:21pm – Transparency Maldives will give its assessment of the election at 11pm tonight at a press conference, while the EC is also expected to announce the provisional results.

8:51pm – The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said that the second round of the Presidential elections must be held, as scheduled, tomorrow, Sunday 10 November.

“Our opponents are, once again, trying to subvert democracy by refusing to sign the voter lists for tomorrow’s election,” said MDP Deputy Chairperson Ali Shiyam.

The MDP calls on the international community to do all they can to hold the second round of elections tomorrow to ensure an elected President is sworn in by the constitutional deadline.

“The international community must apply pressure – including targeted, punitive sanctions – on those individuals who seek to undermine Maldivian democracy.

8:02pm – Jumhooree Coalition Presidential Candidate Gasim Ibrahim’s spokesperson Ibrahim Khaleel has accused the Elections Commission (EC) of anti-campaigning against their candidate.

Khaleel is quoted in local media as stating that the EC has today infringed upon the electoral rights of candidates.

Khaleel stated that the EC, in a press conference held Saturday afternoon, had spoken about JP refusing to sign the voters’ list which is to be used in a second round of elections which, if necessary, are to be held on Sunday.

He then alleged that this statement by the EC would lead Gasim to lose support.

EC President Fuwad Thowfeek cited words of JP’s Deputy Leader Ibrahim Didi, who, according to Thowfeek had told him the party “had no objections with proceeding with elections, but [we] refuse to sign the voter lists”, and also had stated he would send in a letter saying the same.

Khaleel, however, denied that this way the party’s stand and claimed instead that it was the Deputy Leader’s personal opinion.

EC Member Ali Mohamed Manik had been asked a similar question at today’s press conference by Gasim-owned VMedia, whether the commission’s intention was to anti-campaign by talking about the matter.

“We will neither campaign nor anti-campaign for anyone. We have no interest whatsoever in electing any particular candidate. I don’t believe that we have infringed any candidates’ rights by truthfully and factually answering media queries about who has so far signed or not signed the register.”

“We have a window of less than 24 hours between the two rounds of voting, and so we must speak of the matter. If this is then interpreted as anti-campaigning, then the only choice left would be to stop providing information to the media completely, and that probably is not an acceptable option.”

7:33pm – Unofficial results from Haveeru, Raajje TV and MvDemocracy show Mohamed Nasheed leading with roughly 46 percent of the vote. Yameen Abdul Gayoom comes second with approximately 30 percent and Gasim Ibrahim is third with approximately 23 percent of the vote.

Unofficial voter turn out was lower than the annulled September 7 elections with all candidates gaining fewer votes today than they did on September 7.

Although Nasheed seems to have gained a percentage point more than he did in the annulled first, he seems to have gained less gross votes than he did in the annulled round. Yameen seems to have maintained a similar number of gross votes, while Gasim Ibrahim seems to have lost the most gross votes.

It appears Nasheed suffered the most due to the lower turn out. Yameen may have maintained his votes if his September 7 voters turned out to vote today, or if he gained votes from those who had previously voted for Gasim or Waheed. Otherwise, the results so far seem to thoroughly vindicated the credibility of the first round on September 7.

7:00pm – Irufushi resort, a resort whose management were alleged to have engaged in a campaign against MDP supporting staff following the results of the September 7 poll, has still seen 48.5 percent of votes received cast in favour of Nasheed according to EC figures.

Irufushi is owned by Ahmed ‘Sun Travel’ Shiyam, the leader of the Maldivian Development Alliance which is allied with the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM). PPM candidate Yameen has received 45 percent.

Meanwhile, the ballot box on Sun Island – reported as a resort where the wearing MDP party colours led to a wave of dismissals – has seen a landslide of votes for its owner Gasim Ibrahim, who has received 88 percent of votes cast according to the EC statistics.

6:29pm – According to results from MVDemocracy, Nasheed is leading with 46.58 percent (70,099 votes) while Yameen is placed in second with 29.98 percent (45,117 votes) and Gasim 23.43 percent (25,261 votes). According to the website, 380 ballot boxes have been counted while 95 remain uncounted. A total 150,477 votes have so far been counted.

6:26pm – Haveeru’s figures also appear to show Nasheed having taken the first of the overseas boxes. With 160 of 184 eligible votes counted in Singapore, Nasheed has received 98 of the ballots cast.

6:22pm – With 61 percent of registered voters having had their votes counted in Haa Alif Atoll, according to Haveeru, Nasheed leads in the country’s northernmost atoll. Haveeru’s counting reports 45.88 percent votes cast for Nasheed, 32.65 percent for Yameen, and 21.47 percent for Gasim. Haveeru notes that Nasheed gained the highest percentage in the atoll in the annulled round also, taking 44.48 percent on that occasion.

6:18pm – The Jumhooree Party’s Youth Wing Leader Moosa Anwar has submitted a letter to the Supreme Court, requesting that the second round of elections scheduled for Sunday be annulled.

Anwar said in his letter that if the second round of the Presidential election is scheduled for the next day itself, candidates are “being stripped of some electoral rights”, according to local media.

Among the “electoral rights” that he claimed may be lost, he pointed out that since there is a such a short window of time, candidates may not be able to campaign for the second round.

He further said that this may make it difficult for “whichever candidate who finishes third place to endorse the runner-up who makes it into the second round”.

Anwar also alleged that “many people have been deprived of their right to vote in the second round as the Elections Commission gave only a duration of three hours in which to re-register for it.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court has ruled that their verdict on annulling the September 7 election remains in effect, and hence the current President and his government will remain in power if a new government is not elected by November 11.

5:55pm – The official results on the Elections Commission’s website, representing 27.7 percent of eligible voters, so far place Nasheed in the lead with 42.1 percent of 65539 valid votes cast. Yameen follows with 33.89 percent, and Gasim trails behind with 24.11 percent of valid votes cast.

5:52pm – “Voting was very exciting and it’s important for the constitution in this situation,” said first time voter 18 year-old Mariyam. “Hopefully ‘ehburun’ (‘one round’).”

“Voting is important for the country and I think Anni will win in the first round,” said 23 year-old Abdulla Rasheed.

“I didn’t think today’s vote was going to happen. The Supreme Court will probably annul this round also if Anni wins first place,” said 28 year-old Nasheed.

“I’m excited to vote today, but not as much as on September 7 because of all the difficulties that have happened since then [with the obstructed September 28 and October 19],” said 25 year-old Mariyam.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen [if the election results will be upheld or annulled by the Supreme Court]. But I’m hoping for the best,” said 29 year-old Fathun. “It’s our right to vote, it’s a chance that we shouldn’t lose.”

“I had no idea if the vote was going to happen today. Last time I wanted to come vote, but the election was cancelled two times. This time I still feel bad [because of the security services and Supreme Court],” said 19 year-old Ahmed. “At the end of the day in the evening is when something will happen. During counting and calling [of results].”

5:02pm – The Supreme Court has ruled that their verdict annulling the September 7 elections remains in effect, and declared that the current President Mohamed Waheed and his government will remain in power if a new government is not elected by November 11.

The verdict – signed by four of the seven judges sitting on the Supreme Court bench – contradicts the parliamentary motion to appoint Speaker Abdulla Shahid as an interim President in the event that a new elected President cannot be sworn in by November 11.

According to local media, the order was signed by Judge Ali Hameed, Judge Ahmed Abdulla Didi, Abdulla Saeed and Abdulla Areef – the same four who annulled the September 7 polls based on a secret police report discredited by an expert UN review.

The verdict was issued in a case submitted by Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) lawyer Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim, seeking the court to declare illegal parliament’s motion to appoint the Speaker as the interim president.

4:22pm – The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has issued a statement “congratulating the people of the Maldives for peacefully and patiently voting in the new first round of presidential elections. The Maldivian people have, once again, shown their unrelenting commitment to democracy.”

“The MDP is pleased to note that today’s polls proceeded smoothly, without major incident. The elections were observed by over 2,000 party officials as well as local and international election monitors. The isolated complaints received by the MDP mainly related to the voter registry and predominantly involved issues such as spelling errors in the voters list compiled in accordance to the Supreme Court guideline. In most cases, Election Commission staff promptly resolved the issues and people were able to cast their vote,” the party stated.

“The MDP would like to extend its thanks to the Election Commission and their staff, who worked tirelessly under difficult circumstances to ensure today’s vote took place. The MDP would also like to thank the international community, Maldivian civil society groups and all independent election monitors, whose efforts have helped to uphold Maldivian democracy.”

The statement concluded by calling on “all political parties and State institutions to ensure that the will of the people is respected.”

3:30pm – Polls have officially closed, but those still waiting in line will be able to cast their ballots.

3:15pm – Transparency Maldives (TM) has issued a press release thanking its 400 plus observers and reporting no major incidents up to this point.

“The opening of the polls was smooth, and the administrative preparation and execution went well, for which the Elections Commission and all relevant stakeholders deserve credit.”

TM reported that 99 percent of polling stations were open by 8am, and two or more candidate/party observers were present at 94.6 percent of all polling stations.

“Observers concluded that the polling stations were set up to ensure a secret vote in the vast majority of cases (97.5%). This was less clear in about 2.5% of all cases observed. These polling stations will be closely watched.”

“We encourage all parties to maintain a climate of peace. Our observers are working hard at polling stations and will be present at the polling stations till closing.”

2:45pm – Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officers have circulated an appeal calling on their fellow soldiers not to obey “unlawful” orders issued by President Waheed or his political appointees, following the expiry of his presidential term at midnight on November 10.

The five-page document, signed by 73 officers including many mid-ranking officers, is titled “An appeal to soldiers to maintain their oath to be professional and apolitical.”

2:10pm – “We have no interest whatsoever in electing any particular candidate. I don’t believe that we have infringed any candidate’s rights by truthfully and factually answering media queries about who has so far signed and not signed the register,” said Thowfeek.

“We have a window of less than 24 hrs between the two rounds of voting, and so must speak of the matter. If this is then interpreted as anti campaigning, then the only choice left would be to stop providing information to the media completely, and that probably isn’t an acceptable option,” he concluded.

2:00pm – Initially, neither the PPM nor the JP turned up to sign the lists, and the JP has still not arrived to do so, revealed the EC.

JP Chairman Dr Ibrahim Didi told Minivan News earlier today that his party had no objection to holding the elections, but that it would not sign the lists. He said that the party would send a letter informing the EC of such, though the EC has not yet received any correspondence.

After signing some lists earlier today, the PPM left for a break before sending a letter stating that they would only sign lists with changes.

“It looks as if they are not so keen on fulfilling their duties and responsibilities. Signing these lists is a duty given to candidates & their reps by the SC,” said Thowfeek.

“Although ‘guideline’ does not literally translate to mean something obligatory, it is how all stakeholders interpret the Supreme Court guidelines.”

Thowfeek went on to say that the biggest number of complaints received had been regarding campaigning after the 6pm cut-off yesterday.

“The biggest complaint regarding campaigning/anti campaigning after 6 yesterday was about a sermon being shown on about 4 channels,” he added.

1:55pm – When asked about the reported complaints from the PPM regarding the potential use of lists different to those signed by the parties, Elections Commission member Ali Mohamed Manik said no such complaints had been received.

“We haven’t received any such complaints. There is absolutely no chance of that happening anyway. The thing is, different party representatives approached the signing in different manners. While some reps signed every single page of the lists, others signed the back of the last sheet of the full list for each box.”

1:50pm – “We’ve also asked Cabinet Minister Nazeer to convey our message to the president”

“We’ve been speaking to Nazim since 2am last night. However we haven’t yet found a way forward, the matter hasn’t been resolved so far.”

“Our initial plan was to have candidates sign only the lists that would have changes, but on the request of some candidates we have arranged for all the complete lists to be ready for signing.”

1:45pm – “We are ready and so are the police and MNDF,” continued Thowfeek.

“We have spoken about this to the candidates themselves and the defence minister Nazim who is the government’s election focal point.”

1:40pm – “As per SC regulations all candidates need to sign voter registry. We are very fortunate that all candidates have signed lists for the first round being held today,” said Thowfeek.

He went on to say that the JP had not signed any of the lists for tomorrow’s poll, whilst the PPM had signed some. The MDP, meanwhile, has said it is happy to sign the lists.

1:35pm – Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek speaking at an Elections Commission press conference in the last hour:

“If there has to be a second round, it is to be held tomorrow. However, we are facing some obstacles.”

1:30pm – After casting his vote earlier today, President Waheed told Minivan News that he felt he had left a good democratic legacy, and hoped the transfer of power would be a smooth one.

“This vote is very important because the Maldivian people want to elect a new leader and they’ve been waiting for this for some time now. I hope this is all going to go well and soon we will have an elected president.”

1:10pm – A twitter hashtag #dearmaldives has been collecting messages of support for the election from around the world, with dozens of people from countries ranging from Cyprus to the Congo wishing good luck to the democratic process.

1:05pm –

12:05pm –

11:55am – Elections Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek casts his vote.

11:45am – Faphun, 29, queuing to vote with her younger sister Shafega, 10, said she was hoping for the best after previous delays.

“It’s our right to vote – it’s a chance we shouldn’t lose.”

Numbers in lines are growing steadily after a low early turnout.

Meanwhile, Shafega said that she was very excited and wished she could vote today.

11:25am – The MDP complaints team said they have received complaints of some voters unable to vote because of minor spelling differences between ID card and voter registry. Most voters have been able to resolve issues and vote after calling the EC complaints bureau, MDP’s Nooshin Waheed said.

MDP is now filing one complaint regarding a man who was unable to vote because of minor difference in address.

11:11am – A group of people went up to the fifth floor of Elections Commission and created disruptions. Police advised them and sent them away.

11:00am – Police have taken the required ballot papers to Dhaal Atoll Bandidhoo Island. The ballot papers sent there originally were less than required.

10:55am – MDP candidate Nasheed expresses his confidence after voting at CHSE.

10:40am – Maldives High Commissioner to Singapore, Mauroof Khaleel confirmed to Minivan News that former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is in Singapore at the moment. Gayoom is registered to vote in Male’ according to the Elections Commission 1414 service. Khaleel said he does not know if Gayoom intends to go to Male today.

10:30am – Sacko, 24, explained why there were relatively few voters in today’s lines compared with the September 7 vote:

“People are fed-up with the nonsense, so not so many are out this time.”

He did, however, believe today’s vote to be important: “We are all one – the elections are important today.”

10:20am – PPM candidate Yameen doubts the MDP can achieve a first round victory.

“I don’t believe that will happen. I don’t believe that at all. Because there were lots of problems in the first round and it is not a correct vote.”

Aske if he would accept election results whilst having issues with the voter registry, he called for these polling booths to be closed immediately.

“No, no election will not end with these issues. It has to stop now. They have to remove that list. Polls cannot proceed at that box now. This the law now. If there is any list at any ballot boxes without candidate’s signatures, they have to stop immediately.”

“The election cannot be finished with those issues. The election can only proceed when those issues are addressed.”

10:20am – PPM candidate Abdulla Yameen spoke with the press after casting his vote. Asked whether he was happy with the voting process, he replied: “No. We are receiving complaints that in some places, lists we did not sign are being used.”

“We are looking into it and submitting it to the Elections [Commission]. But EC is not being responsive. So I am not happy.”

Yameen said lists he did not sign are being used in more areas than one. Asked about his plans should he not win in one round, he said: “If I don’t win in the first round and go to a second round? Allah will not will that.”

10:15am – More twitter users saying officials obstructing people wearing yellow from voting.

No campaigning is allowed on polling day. Voters can wear any colour, so long as it does not have campaign messages.

10:10am – Fathimath Irene, 28, voting at Aminya School – T08 1.2 – said that after waiting in line for an hour, she was told by EC officials she could not enter the polling station because she was wearing a yellow shirt.

She was told to leave, but pointed to other voters wearing pink and red. People at the polling station told her not to leave, should be able to vote no matter which color.

After officials called someone, Irene was finally allowed to vote.

“I was very embarrassed when they told me I could not vote and tried to send me away with all of those people there. But I’m feeling good now that I was able to vote.”

10:00am – According to police, voting at Majeedhiyya School ST 2 box was suspended for a bit because someone who was assisting an old person voted instead of them, but voting has resumed now.

9:55am – 53 year-old Fathimath Didi, who was lined up to vote at the Aminiya School polling booth, said “I’m not completely sure this vote will go any better with Fuwad in the Elections Commission. If he doesn’t tamper with our votes, we can make sure ‘Ladhini’ (irreligious) Nasheed doesn’t go into the second round.”

Ahmed Ali, a 35 year-old voter standing behind Didi, retorted, “You just don’t appreciate even the sincerest efforts by the Elections Commission, do you? With a free vote, insha Allah we will take back our country in a single round.

9:50am – “I think this time voting will go smoothly. I just hope the Supreme Court doesn’t interfere again tonight,” said 63 year old Ameena Ali, who voted at the Centre for Higher Secondary Education in Male.

“Poor [Elections Commissioner] Fuwad Thowfeek was hospitalised due to this pressure. It is mainly his perservenece that has brought us here. It is now up to us to win back democracy in one round,” said 65 year-old Fathimath Shaheedha.

9:40am – Social media continues to circulate pictures of people guarding cemeteries, in reference to the police intelligence report – recently discredited by UN experts – alleging deceased voters had taken part in the September 7 poll.

The report was the primary factor in the Supreme Court’s decision to annul the poll.

9:30am – Voter turnout is widely reported to have been lower than expected so far.

9:20am – Police said on website they have detained someone who showed their ballot paper after marking vote and someone who took a picture of their ballot paper in the polling station set up at the Center for Holy Quran.

9:10am – Police queuing to vote in Addu City.

9:05am – Local news outlet CNM has reported a disagreement in Kaafy Aoll, Villingili Island, between the police and EC officials.

Police were allegedly standing too close to the ballot box, less than 100 ft away, EC officials asked them to stay further away, police refused saying they were acting on orders. But after calling their seniors, police left.

8:50am – Dhiraagu and Haveeru together have introduced a service to check results via text message. Haveeru volunteers will be updating website with results throughout the day.

Text “result” to 2013 and you will get total update (not the official result).

To check result of a particular atoll, text letter of atoll (eg S for Addu atoll) to 2013 you will get results of that atoll.

To check result of ballot box, text the EC code for ballot box to 2013 and you will get results for that box.

Every SMS is charged MVR2.

8:40am – New ballot, minus incumbent President Dr Mohamed Waheed (picture by @tenUNTIT)

8:30am – Mariyam, 25, was extremely excited about having just cast her vote: “I’m hopeful that this vote will be upheld.”

8:20am – Abdulla Rasheed, 23, thinks Nasheed will win in the first round: “I’m excited to vote because it is important for the country.”

8:15am – Shaffan, aged 23, queuing up to vote: “We have been waiting for this for ages – we’re really happy to vote. Although there were difficult circumstances before, we’re still hopeful.”

8:05am – Tweets from Haa Alif Dhihdoo reveal that youth are watching over cemetery to ensure that no deceased people are able to vote in this round.

8:00am – Polling begins in Malaysia.

7:40am – Voters report that no bags or mobile phones are allowed in the queues or the polling booths.

7:35am – According to the Police, ballot papers sent to Dhaa Atoll Bandidhoo were less than the number of voters registered there. Elections Commission is now sending more ballot papers.

7:30am – Jumhooree Party candidate Gasim Ibrahim has cast his vote.

7:20am – Voting in Fuvahmulah.

7:10am – Supreme Court Guideline 13 states that the latest token number issued to voters must be announced every 30 minutes to voters [waiting in queue], the relevant official should note the token number near the person’s name on the list while marking the name of the person after he or she has voted, and impartial officials must be appointed to ensure that no person’s name is marked twice and that two token numbers are not listed near the same name.

The Elections Commission has appointed a new official at every polling station to do this task

7:00am – Polls open across the country


Saturday’s election an opportunity to reverse damage of February 7, says Nasheed

The long-awaited president election on November 9 is an opportunity to “regain the development lost on February 7, 2012,” former President Mohamed Nasheed said in his final campaign message ahead of tomorrow’s presidential polls.

“Through the right to vote we will secure the right to water and sanitation, housing, transport, and education,” the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidential candidate said. “Our second term will also bring contentment to the Maldivian people.”

The MDP’s “costed and budgeted” manifesto was devised to bring about the “proud citizen” who can stand tall, provide for his family through honest work and be free from anxiety over unaffordable healthcare, he said.

“I am asking very sincerely for your vote on the November 9 election,” Nasheed said.

“The election November 9 is the final result of the coup perpetrators’ devious plot to undermine the constitution and take over the government,” he said.

“Today we are able to have this election as a consequence of the efforts of many Maldivian citizens in defence of our future.”

Nasheed expressed particular gratitude to the staff of the Elections Commission.

The economy has suffered the consequences of annulling and delaying the presidential election while relations with foreign partners have deteriorated to unprecedented levels, he continued.

Establishing strong ties with the outside world does not amount to “forgoing our nationhood,” Nasheed contended, adding that Maldivian nationhood in a globalised world would be “based on Islam, the Dhivehi language, culture and human rights.”

Foreign ambassadors and diplomats were coming to the Maldives more than ever before to “save the Maldivian people from the impoverishment we could face if there is no elected government,” he said.

The Maldives could not afford to be an “isolated nation” as foreign assistance was required for infrastructure development, higher education opportunities, and medical treatment.

Development could not be secured by “oppressing, suppressing and intimidating the people,” he said.

State of the economy

The MDP meanwhile issued a press statement today calling on the Auditor General to conduct an audit to assess the state of the government’s finances.

The party contended that the Finance Ministry has accumulated domestic debt in violation of the Public Finance Act while the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) printed money to finance the government’s deficit spending.

Compared to 2012, the party noted that loans or credit sought from the domestic market increased 30 percent this year.

The MMA governor revealed to parliament’s Finance Committee recently that the government owed MVR1.5 billion to the central bank, MVR1.5 billion to the State Trading Organisation (STO) and “close to a billion to other parties that release credit to the government,” the statement observed.

MMA Governor Dr Fazeel Najeeb had said that the sums were not included in the 2013 budget while the 2014 budget had no allocations for repayment, the MDP noted.

The value of the rufiya has fallen as a result of printing MVR1.5 billion to finance government expenditures, the party argued, noting that the MDP government ceased deficit monetisation in August 2009 through an agency agreement between the Finance Ministry and MMA.

Under the circumstances, the statement continued, offering a lump sum payment to ministers was “shameful.”

Islam and sovereignty

Meanwhile, speaking at the final campaign rally of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) last night, the party’s candidate Abdulla Yameen said it was “obligatory” upon all Maldivians to vote for him for the sake of Islam and the nation.

Yameen appealed to members of Adhaalath Party, Jumhooree Party and the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party to vote for him.

The PPM’s efforts during the three year MDP government showed that it was the only party that worked on behalf of the religion and the nation, Yameen said.

People should not complain or blame political leaders if they did not perform the duty of voting for the PPM candidate on Saturday, the half-brother of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom said.

While the Maldives is not a rich country, Yameen said it could be made a prosperous nation under the stewardship of a “trustworthy” president.

The PPM leadership was comprised of “capable, educated and sincere” people, he added.

The next leader would have to begin from “1000 feet under” as the national debt had soared such that a newborn was indebted by MVR180,000, Yameen said.

A PPM government would clear the budget deficit in its first two years and achieve a surplus in the third year, Yameen pledged.

Yameen said he could have “awarded projects any way I wanted” when he served in the cabinet and as the chairman of government-owned companies under the Gayoom administration, and could have become the richest man in the country.

“But, God willing, after a long public service, I am able to talk about the corruption of another person in front of the people at this podium today because, by the grace of God, I am free from [corruption],” he said.


Parties hold final events in capital city Male’ on last day of campaigns

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM),  Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and  Jumhooree Coalition (JP) – the three parties contesting in the November 9 presidential elections – have held final rallies around the capital on Friday evening, ending just in time to meet the 6:00pm campaign prohibition hour.

PPM vehicle round

PPM and its coalition partner Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) organised a round of vehicles as their last campaign event.

The event was led by presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen, who rode atop a party themed convertible car, with over a dozen lorries decorated in party-themed clothed and balloons following him carrying supporters.

Around 50 motorcycles followed the rally, also decked in pink. The total rally had close to a thousand supporters.

The vehicles halted near the Raalhugandu area – the usual rally grounds of opponent MDP – where Yameen addressed the onlookers.

“Do you want to return back to the brutality? Have you forgotten the past?” he asked of them, while urging them to vote for the party.

Supporters in the lorries threw chocolates, leaflets detailing their tourism policy and posters which displayed what they alleged to be corruption during Nasheed’s administration.

MDP march

Maldivian Democratic Party marched around capital city Male’, to the sound of campaign music and loud chants by the crowd of several thousand supporters.

The rally was led by the party’s presidential candidate and former President Mohamed Nasheed, his running mate Mustafa Lutfi, as well as many MPs and senior members of the party’s council who walked along with the crowd.

Supporters carried flags, streamers, balloons and placards showing the party’s slogans and pledges, with “ehburun” [in one round] remaining the main message.

Jumhooree Gathering

Jumhooree Coalition parties gathered near the Social Centre in Maafannu ward, with several hundred supporters in attendance.

The coalition’s presidential candidate and JP leader Gasim Ibrahim, as well his running mate Hassan Saeed joined the gathering.


Elections Commission decides to verify all re-registration forms

The Elections Commission (EC) has decided to verify fingerprints on all re-registration forms submitted by citizens wishing to vote outside their home island after the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Jumhooree Party (JP) disputed the accuracy of the re-registration process.

EC Chair Fuwad Thowfeek told newspaper Haveeru this morning that 41,000 forms were sent to the Department of National Registration last night (November 5) and more would be sent once they were processed. The DNR forwards the forms to the police for fingerprint verification.

More than 71,000 people re-registered to vote elsewhere in the presidential election scheduled for Saturday, November 9.

While the PPM and JP threatened not to sign the lists yesterday, the candidates from both parties agreed to approve the registry following a meeting with President Dr Mohamed Waheed this morning.

The JP had asked the commission last night to verify all 71,000 voter re-registration forms, while the PPM asked for the verification of 6,000 forms in which the party had identified issues.

The Supreme Court, in its verdict annulling the September 7 vote, asked the EC to obtain fingerprints of all voters who wished to register to vote in a location other than their permanent address.

The JP claimed yesterday that they had received information from the DNR that the department had not been able to verify 12,000 fingerprints because the prints were unclear. An additional 3,000 forms had fingerprints that did not belong to the voter, JP alleged.

Thowfeek however told Minivan News yesterday that the DNR had noted problems with only 294 forms.

“But the DNR has not said even these forms are fraudulent. They told us the mismatch might be because the quality of database of fingerprints in their database is low. It may also be possible that the voter had given prints of two different fingers to the DNR and on the reregistration form,” he said.

The EC had called all 294 voters, and all voters have testified to the accuracy of the forms, Fuwad noted. There have been no complaints on reregistered location, he added.

“So I do not understand why the PPM wants us to verify another 6,000 forms. Two of the forms they have asked us to verify are that of two senior EC staff. And these staff have said they have no problems with their forms. So why should the PPM ask for verification? Even if they could point out a problem with 100 forms, they have grounds to complain. But there are no complaints,” Fuwad said.