The Maldives’ opposition party Wednesday raised concerns over conduct of the presidential elections on Sunday in a free and fair manner by the country’s poll body, which it alleged has deployed activists of the ruling dispensation for the poll duty. President Abdulla Yameen, of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), is seeking a second five-year term in the Indian Ocean archipelago, a popular high-end tourist destination. Yemeen had imposed a state of emergency in February after the Supreme Court quashed the conviction of nine opposition leaders, including the country’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Nasheed. Nasheed, the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) leader, is currently in exile in Sri Lanka. He has been barred from contesting the Sunday’s polls.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Maldives.
More than a quarter of a million people will vote on Sunday for the next leader of the tropical Maldives in an election criticized internationally for a lack of transparency and suppression of government critics. President Abdulla Yameen is seeking a second five-year term in the Indian Ocean archipelago, a popular high-end tourist destination and a key state in the battle for influence between India and China. But the government has jailed many of his main rivals after speedy trials for charges ranging from terrorism to corruption, and introduced new vote-counting rules that observers say will prevent them from seeing individual ballot papers, leading to doubts about the legitimacy of the vote.
Several countries including the United States, India and the European Union (EU) have raised serious doubts over the fairness of the Maldives presidential elections to be held on 23rd September. Bending the rules and abusing state resources, an autocratic President “Abdulla Yameen” is fighting to get himself ‘selected for his second term. He has been accused of series of corruption charges-he has mocked the human rights of the people of the nation, has put every possible contestant in jail or driven them to exile, muzzled the press and has controlled all administrative apparatus to silence his political opponents. The foreign media ( domestic has been terrorized and subdued) has strongly condemned this impropriety. China loves dictators and is not comfortable with true democracies! Ignoring immediate neighbours and their concerns Yameen has sought the support of China just to stay in power by any means.
Maldives: Opposition presidential candidate says government may rig next month’s election | Associated Press
The Maldives opposition presidential candidate said Monday he fears the government will rig next month’s election. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said his Maldivian Democratic Party is “very worried about the situation” but has “trust in the people.” Solih spoke to journalists after addressing a meeting of Maldivian citizens living in Sri Lanka. A government spokesman did not answer calls seeking comment. The government has rejected such accusations in the past, saying they are baseless.
The Elections Commission denied allegations of registration fraud as lots were drawn Saturday to assign candidate numbers for the September 23 election. President Abdulla Yameen will be candidate number one and joint opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih will be number two on the ballot paper. Tourism Minister Moosa Zameer and lawyer Hisaan Hussain drew lots on their behalf. Speaking at the ceremony, EC chief Ahmed Shareef denied fraudulent registration of people who did not seek to vote outside their island of permanent residence. It emerged last week that several people – including at least 87 from Gaaf Alif Villigili and 22 from Kolamaafushi – were re-registered elsewhere despite not applying. Some people were registered to vote in Sri Lanka and England.
An international human rights group said Thursday that the Maldives government is intimidating the political opposition and the media and that threatens the prospects for a fair presidential election next month. New-York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report that the government of the Indian Ocean archipelago state also has interfered with the judiciary and the elections commission. “Immediate steps are needed to restore political freedoms and democratic rule to ensure free and fair elections in September,” said Brad Adams, the group’s Asia director. The election is September 23.
Maldives government has declared September 23 a public holiday to allow people to vote in the presidential elections slated for that day. President’s Office spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali in a Tweet said incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom had declared Sunday, September 23 a public holiday to allow people to vote without work related commitments. The decision came after the country’s top court rejected a motion to declare elections day a public holiday.
The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives dismissed speculation the government will seek to delay the September 23 presidential election. “We want to hold the election as soon as possible. And it will happen on the date the Elections Commission has set,” MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla told the press Sunday evening. The PPM will not seek to postpone the polls “under any circumstances” or support delays, the party’s deputy leader insisted. The press briefing was called after the Maldivian Democratic Party said President Abdulla Yameen was “inventing cowardly excuses to cancel or delay the election,” referring to an astonishing Facebook post from the defence minister about a plot to destabilise the Maldives in the coming days.
The Maldives elections body will allow voters with disabilities to choose their own helpers for polling day, its second U-turn and major misstep in four days. Updated electoral regulations published Sunday say voters who require assistance will be allowed to choose a helper of their choice. The helper can assist the voter with the permission of the chief electoral official at the ballot centre. The Elections Commission initially said only electoral officials would help voters who were unable to tick the ballot paper on their own. The original announcement was met with anger from political parties and a threat of legal action by a former attorney general.
The start date for presidential candidates to submit their applications has been delayed by more than a week, the head of the Elections Commission said Thursday. The announcement was made by Ahmed Shareef in a press conference. “The commission first announced that applications would be open on 15 (July). We had some differences of opinion in the commission but we have now decided that the date for applications is 23 July,” he told reporters. Shareef said the wait was because the term for President Abdulla Yameen expires on 17 November due to the delays in the 2013 election.