Second round of voting in council elections scheduled for February 15

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The candidate in question had however withdrawn his candidacy following the EC’s decision to delay the poll.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.


“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.


International community obliged to delegitimise President Waheed: Nasheed

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidential candidate and former President Mohamed Nasheed has called on the international community not to recognise President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan should he stay in power beyond the end of the current presidential term at midnight tonight.

The Supreme Court in a ruling yesterday said Waheed’s presidency continues until a president elect is determined, invalidating a People’s Majlis resolution authorizing the speaker to assume the presidency in the absence of a president-elect.

Speaking to the press today, Nasheed said, “In my view, the international community is partly responsible for the messy situation here in the Maldives. We had a perfect well-oiled government in 2012. They came and they recognised my Vice President as the head of state. They have an obligation not to recognise him after the end of that period.”

Nasheed has called on Waheed to resign, allow Majlis Speaker Abdulla Shahid to assume the presidency and conduct the second round of presidential elections on November 16.

“We would hope that Dr Waheed will resign tonight and we are seeking for an election held with Shahid, the speaker of parliament, as head of state,” he said.

Waheed was Nasheed’s second in command, and came to the presidency on February 7, 2012, after elements of the police and military mutinied against Nasheed. The first democratically elected president publicly resigned, later alleging that he was ousted in a coup d’état.

Nasheed emerged as the frontrunner in yesterday’s presidential polls with 46.93 percent of the vote. He is set to compete against Progressive Party of the Maldives’s (PPM) Abdulla Yameen who won 29.73 percent.

A second round of elections was scheduled for today in order to ensure a president elect is determined by the end of the presidential term, but the Supreme Court in the early hours of the morning rescheduled the vote to November 16, reiterating the continuity of Waheed’s administration.

Beyond November 11

Speaking to the press on multiple occasions, Waheed has previously said he does not wish to stay on as president “even a day beyond November 11.” The President’s Office has not responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling on continuity of Waheed’s administration.

Nasheed described the Supreme Court as “vested interests”, and called on the international community “not to entertain” the apex court.

The Supreme Court annulled the first round of presidential polls held on September 7 despite unanimous praise of electoral conduct, and delineated 16 guidelines on electoral processes, limiting the independence of the Elections Commission and effectively giving veto power over elections to presidential candidates.

On October 19, the police brought elections to a halt after two of the three presidential candidates refused to sign the voter registry.

“[I]t is very clear to them now that the Supreme Court does not resemble any idea of a court. So I don’t believe the international community actually seriously takes the Supreme Court into account. And I would want them to very clearly indicate to the people of the Maldives, that they are with the constitution of the Maldives and not with the vested interests,” Nasheed said.

Further, an election conducted under Waheed’s leadership would be unconstitutional and “it would be very difficult” for the MDP to participate in such an election as such an election is open to interference from the Supreme Court, he added.

“We do not believe that if President Waheed continues in government that he would – or people aligned with him, working with him, in alliance with him – would want an election in the country. I think it is very clear that elections would go our way. If they do not intend to transfer power legally, then we do not see how they would want to have an election. So we don’t think there could be a conducive environment for elections. The Supreme Court will come out with another ruling upon the military or upon the police to definitely obstruct the elections. Come 16th of November, we will be back to square one,” he added.

Speaker to reach out

Meanwhile, Waheed’s Vice President Waheed Deen has stepped down today and a petition by mid ranking officers of the Maldives National Defense Forces (MNDF) calling on the army not to obey any order made by Waheed or his political appointees after November 11 has been circulating on social media.

The Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) has come out in support of Waheed assuming the presidency.

Speaking to the press last night, the PPM’s presidential candidate Yameen said: “Now the Supreme Court verdict has come the way President Waheed hoped for or wanted. So I am certain that President Waheed will stay with the Maldivian people at this most difficult time we are facing. I have no doubt about that.”

But Nasheed said the spirit of the constitution was for the People’s Majlis speaker to assume the presidency in the absence of a president and vice president as Article 124 (b) confers presidential powers to the Speaker if the presidency becomes vacant for any reason.

The speaker is expected to reach out to the different arms of the government and the security forces today, he said.

Speaking to Minivan News last week, Shahid said that if the reigns of power are taken over by an unelected body on November 11, it would mark the death of democracy in the Maldives.

Should he assume presidency, his role would be to ensure an election as soon as possible, Shahid said.

“To make sure that we hold an election as soon as possible and that the country is put back on track. That the opportunity for the people to have their say is provided and an elected leader is put in place. And then my job is done. The sooner the better. This is not an opportunity I cherish at all, to be an interim caretaker for this country,” he said.


Comment: Yameen the Meek

So much for ‘Yameen The Strong’, the tough, gunda boss: alleged purveyor of illegal oil to the Burmese Junta and other illegal substances to Male’s youth. Instead, he should be known as Yameen The Chicken, or Yameen The Meek.

For Abdulla Yameen is clearly scared of the Maldivian electorate, and afraid of losing the second round presidential polls. Why else would he conspire with half-brother Gayoom to get the Supreme Court to indefinitely postpone the vote? There can only be one explanation for PPM’s delaying tactics: Yameen knows that in a second round fight, the MDP’s Mohamed Nasheed will kick his ass.

Yameen’s election campaign has been lacklustre at best. He rarely campaigns, his policies sound as if they are made up as he goes along and, as I pointed out in my previous column, Yameen seems incapable of dropping his semi-permanent and voter-off-putting sneer.

Yameen barely scraped second place in the first round on 7 September, despite inheriting the second largest political operation in the country: the PPM. Yameen acquired a paltry 25.35 percent of the vote, to Nasheed’s 45.45 percent. Since then, the DRP has joined forces with Nasheed, likely pushing his vote above 50 percent and leaving Yameen’s campaign in big trouble.

And so, rather than choosing to man-up and fight Nasheed head-on, Yameen has hidden behind a bench of thieves, porn-stars and illiterates otherwise known as the Supreme Court of the Republic of Maldives.

The Supreme Court has entertained a ludicrous case about voter irregularities by third-placed Gasim Ibrahim – another Gayoom stooge. This farcical trial, involving witnesses “who heard from someone there was voter fraud”, has been used by the court to delay the second round indefinitely, despite numerous foreign and local election observers praising the vote for being free and fair.

Yameen’s gambit appears to be to delay the second round for as long as possible – perhaps until the New Year – so, in the words of his lawyer, PPM has “time to campaign.” Or maybe his game-plan is to get rid of the Elections Commission, so his mate Abdulla Riyaz – Police Commissioner and coup d’état perpetrator extraordinaire – can take over the voting process and rig it in Yameen’s favour.

Yameen’s running mate, Mohamed ‘Angry Bird’ Jameel has even muttered dark thoughts about disqualifying Nasheed from the race entirely, by re-starting the politicised trial against him over his decision, when president, to detain a corrupt judge.

Yameen’s undemocratic (and unconstitutional) behaviour might not be surprising. He is, after all, the little brother of a vicious dictator. But it does smack of cowardice. Because leaders – real leaders, that is – don’t hide. They don’t cower. And they don’t duck out of a fight, and get big brother to fight it for them.

Yameen has been accused of many things since the start of the election campaign. Hassan Saeed vowed to put Yameen on trial for the theft of US$800 million of state-owned oil, which Yameen allegedly stole while head of STO. Umar Naseer claimed Yameen peddles drugs, and pays street gangs to attack his political opponents. Mohamed Nasheed has called on people to be “mindful” of Yameen’s dark past and dodgy character.

But now the PPM candidate faces a new charge. One that, for an aspiring Head of State, is perhaps most damaging of all: that he is a chicken and a coward. He is Yameen The Meek.

All comment pieces are the sole view of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of Minivan News. If you would like to write an opinion piece, please send proposals to [email protected]


Elections Commission announces final first round election results

The Elections Commission (EC) has announced the final results from the first round of the presidential election held September 7.

The EC announced the results yesterday (September 14) after the High Court rejected the Jumhooree Party’s (JP) request for an injunction to halt the announcement.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidential candidate and former President Mohamed Nasheed placed first, winning 95,224 votes, or 45.45 percent.

Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) candidate Abdulla Yameen – an MP and half-brother of former autocratic President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom – received 25.35 percent,or 53,099 votes, to place second.

While the EC’s final results page showed these figures – identical to those released preliminarily on September 8 – local media outlet Sun Online reported that Yameen had received 54,099 votes – a discrepancy of 1,000 votes.

Gasim Ibrahim – resort tycoon, owner of Villa TV (VTV), MP, and JP leader – placed a close third at 24.07 percent, with 50,422 votes.

Gasim and his Jumhooree ‘Gulhun’ (coalition) – consisting of the Islamist Adhaalath Party (AP), the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), as well as former PPM Vice President Umar Naseer – have contested the election results and are seeking a recount through the High Court and Supreme Court, in addition to staging protests accusing the EC of negligence and vote rigging.

Incumbent President Dr Mohamed Waheed suffered a resounding defeat, securing 5.13 percent or 10,750 votes. Waheed contested the election as an independent candidate, following controversy over whether his Gaumee Ithihaad Party (GIP) had the minimum 10,000 members required under new political party regulation.

Yesterday Waheed announced GIP will support the PPM in the presidential election run-off, although he will be stepping down as head of the party.

The announcement of the GIP backing the PPM comes days after the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) announced its support for Nasheed and the MDP during the second round of voting. The DRP had backed Waheed in the first round vote, with party leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali standing as the incumbent’s running mate.

Since no candidate received more than 50 percent of the total turnout, a second round run-off election between the top two candidates – Nasheed and Yameen – will be held on September 28.

Dead voters found alive

The EC also announced that eight deceased individuals the JP had claimed to be on the electoral register had been found alive.

The JP had submitted the alleged list of deceased individuals to court, according to local media.

The commission has determined that the eight people did cast ballots and have confirmed that five are living, EC Vice Chair Ahmed Fayaz told local media.  The commission has received information that the other three individuals are also alive, but the EC has not yet been able to meet them.

Fayaz told local media last week that the EC had previously rejected a voter list provided by the Department of National Registration prior to polling because it listed people who are still alive as deceased.

“They give us a list, [stating that] these 1,200 people are dead. If we deduct these 1,200 people [from the voter registry] without reviewing, an extra 400 people will come to vote,” said Fayaz.

However, the Jumhooree Party has now accused the EC Vice Chair of “outright lies”, claiming that the coalition did not submit a list of eight supposedly deceased individuals included in the electoral register to the EC.

“We call on Fayaz not to engage in such lies. We ask the EC to work independently,” said Ibraim Khaleel, Gasim’s spokesperson and former Villa TV chief executive officer.

No grounds for recount

Meanwhile, in response to representatives from the JP, the PPM, and President Waheed calling for a recount of all ballot boxes during an Elections National Advisory Committee meeting held Thursday (September 12), the EC stated that the alleged vote discrepancy was not enough to call for a recount of all 470 ballot boxes.

The law states there are two instances where ballot boxes may be recounted: 1) If the EC decides the voting process was compromised and decides to conduct a recount to address a complaint(s); 2) If there is a court order issued for a recount, EC Vice Chair Fayaz explained to local media.

MDP’s representative on the National Advisory Committee insisted there were no grounds to warrant a vote recount and argued that the JP noted no issues during polling.

President Waheed has said he is “very concerned” about “some very serious allegations regarding the election” and urged these issues be resolved “by the respective legal and judicial venues”.

However, EC Chair Fuwad Thowfeek has emphatically dismissed the JP’s allegations of rampant vote-rigging, pointing to the commission’s transparency, ongoing complaints investigations, and the praise from a broad spectrum of election observers who noted peaceful voting throughout the day and the preparedness of the EC.

Local NGO Transparency Maldives – which ran the most comprehensive observation operation on the day – also announced prior to the release of the provisional results that none of the incidents reported on election day would have a “material impact on the outcome of the election”.

The UK and the EU have both issued statements praising the conduct of Saturday’s presidential election, describing them as “transparent and competitive”.


Guraidhoo Island Council stops ballot boxes inside schools citing “too much black magic”

The Guraidhoo Island Council has passed a motion against keeping any ballot boxes inside schools on the island after islanders complained about “too much black magic”, the President of the Island Council Hussain Yameen Mohamed has said.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Yameen said that the council have been receiving a lot of complaints from parents and local islanders regarding the issue.

“This time two parents and one man and a woman were affected by the black magic and had to be treated,’’ he said. “The islanders and parents are concerned that if the ballot boxes are kept inside the schools, the black magicians will target the schools and students will be affected.”

Yameen said that the council and the Elections Commission will discuss and decide upon a place to keep the ballot boxes for the second round of presidential election.

“Friday night there was unrest on this island where Maldivian Democratic Party [MDP] supporters confronted the police,’’ he said. “The MDP supporters thought that two spiritual healers on the island were casting spells on the island school and confronted them and police went to the area.”

He said that one person was arrested on charges of attacking a police officer at the scene but have been released now.

“The island council will try its best to make sure that the ballot boxes are not placed in any of the schools,” he added.

Voters on Guraidhoo were reported to have queued for over 17 hours in order to stand on the location of a black magic coconut, ensuring that all voters would choose the same candidate as the first in line.

Multiple reports of ‘fanditha’ (magic) have accompanied the election, ranging from cursed coconuts and witches to black magic dolls.

It was reported on social media today that police on Velidhoo Island, Noonu Atoll, were taking down MDP flags, alleging they had black magic symbols on them.

Minivan News has also learned of individuals in Male’ attempting to purchase conch shells – revered for their alleged magical properties – for large sums of money.

Spells and accusations cast

A MDP supporter on Guraidhoo, who spoke to Minivan News on condition of anonymity, said that the spiritual healers on the island were supporters of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and the MDP supporters went against him when they saw him spilling water around the island school.

“The MDP supporters tried to stop him and the police came and tried to stop the MDP supporters, and then there was a little confrontation between the police and MDP supporters,” he said.

He said that the spiritual healers had left the island the same night.

However, Yameen told Minivan News that the spiritual healers were on the island for a completely unrelated purpose.

“They were here to take pictures of some Quran books that were buried on the beach,” he said.

On September 4, Guraidhoo police station summoned a white magic practitioner to evaluate a young coconut believed to have been cursed by a black magic spell, after it was found near the Guraidhoo school, where the presidential election polling was set up.

In July this year, a Guraidhoo islander said parents of the island have been refusing – and raising their voices against – keeping ballot boxes inside island schools because black magicians were casting spells on the school for election and later it affects the students.

“After the local council election,  the school students started fainting inside the classrooms and this became a huge issue,” the islander told Minivan News at the time. “The parents knew this was related to something like this and called in a group of spiritual healers.’’

He said the spiritual healers forced the spirits to talk to them through the body of the possessed students, who told the healers that they were unable to leave the students as long as the products of sorcery remained inside the school grounds. The spirits reportedly told the healers the exact locations where the sorceress had placed the spells.

Last week, a police team were sent to search for black magic practitioners on Thakandhoo Island in Haa Alif Atoll after MDP supporters were accused of being responsible for the possession of four local children by evil spirits.


Final election results due tonight after “trouble-free” council re-vote, says EC

The final results of yesterday’s second round of voting for five Island council positions that obtained an equal number of votes in last month’s local elections are expected this evening, officially bringing an end to polling that commenced back in February, the Elections Commission (EC) has said.

Elections Commissioner Fuad Thaufeeq told Minivan News that despite ongoing legal action concerning the alleged conduct of last month’s local elections in certain constituencies , the second round of voting for the fifth and final seat in five island councils had gone almost entirely without disruption or incident yesterday.

The five seats requiring additional voting to appoint a fifth and final councilor were in Baa atoll Kihaadhoo, Raa atoll Dhuvaafaru, Gaaf Alif atoll Kolamaafushi, Haa Dhaal atoll Kumundhoo, and Meemu atoll Veyvah.

Along with polling stations on each of these islands, Thaufeeq said that voters registered in Male’ were also able to use ballot boxes specially set up in the capital. The commissioner claimed that the polling was conducted without any major disruptions or violence.

“There was one incident at 4:00pm for the Kolamaafushi ballot box for voters in Male’ when it was time to close the polls,” he said. “After two late voters came to the ballot, there was a problem when they were told they were unable to vote. However, EC officials managed to speak with them and resolve the problem stressing that it was no longer possible to register a vote [after a ballot box is closed].”

A spokesperson for the Maldives Police Service also confirmed yesterday afternoon that the elections were thought to have gone “smoothly” with no reports received by authorities of any violence or disputes relating to polling that had been seen in isolated incidents during the first round of voting on 5 February.

At present, Thaufeeq said that he hoped for the final counts to be completed and all results to be given by about 8:45pm this evening, meaning that from the EC’s standpoint, voting for the local council elections would then be complete.

“All the [local council] elections have been conducted according to our rules and requirements” he said. “When the results are announced, the elections is over by our understanding.”

Thaufeeq conceded though that 14 cases related to election results remained in court at present, resulting in a number of Atoll Councils still waiting to take the required oath of office to begin their work.

The commissioner added that fresh voting for Kela island council in Haa Alif Atoll was also being called for by some after police were required to evacuate election officials and the ballot box to Hanimaadhoo on 5 February.  The police action was taken as irate crowds were said to have formed over concerns about the conduct of some voters and campaigners.

“We didn’t find any problems in our voting system,” said Thaufeeq, addressing the overall elections.

After announcing that a second round of council voting was required last month, EC Vice President Ahmed Hassan Fayaz told Minivan News that there would not be any additional voting for February’s elections without a court ruling.


According to the EC, every island taking part in the local council elections were required to pick five candidates to sit on their respective councils. However, the commission said that recounts were required in five of these constituencies solely between the fifth and sixth placed candidates who received an equal number of votes.

“Effectively they were tied within these constituencies, so according to the law, the fifth and sixth placed candidates will have to be voted on again,” said Fayaz at the time.