Maldives

Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Maldives.

Maldives: Poll marred by Supreme Court verdict, vote buying: monitors | Xinhua

Election monitors observing Maldives parliamentary polls over the weekend have pointed to a ” violation of rules” by the Supreme Court, and noted voting was undermined by vote buying, reports released on Tuesday said. The Maldives parliamentary election was preceded by a controversial Supreme Court verdict that passed prison sentences on the Election Commission chief and his deputy. The verdict also removed them from their positions leaving a virtually headless Elections Commission to head the vote. The European Union (EU) observers and the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) have now released their interim reports.

Full Article: Maldives poll marred by Supreme Court verdict, vote buying: monitors | Shanghai Daily.

Maldives: Voting proceeds despite understaffed election commission | Deutsche Welle

Voters in the Indian Ocean atoll nation cast their ballots on Saturday, despite concerns that the country’s elections commission was understaffed and unable to carry out the ballot properly. An ally of President Abdulla Yameen had petitioned the Maldives’ Supreme Court to delay the parliamentary polls. But with no decision made by the judges, the election continued as scheduled on Saturday. The court had sacked Election Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek and slapped him with a suspended six-month jail sentence for contempt of court. His deputy, Ahmed Fayaz, was also fired but avoided jail time.

Full Article: Voting in Maldives proceeds despite understaffed election commission | News | DW.DE | 22.03.2014.

Maldives: Entire Maldives election commission sentenced | BBC

The Maldives Supreme Court has given all four election commissioners six-month jail sentences, suspended for three years, for “disobeying orders”. The head of the commission and his deputy have also been sacked. The BBC’s Charles Haviland in Colombo says the ruling comes at an awkward time as the commission is supposed to be preparing for parliamentary elections in less than two weeks. Former President Mohamed Nasheed has called for protests against the ruling. The four election commission members were brought to trial under new rules that allow the Supreme Court to initiate proceedings, prosecute and pass judgement. The judges said they had disrespected the court by not following election guidelines.

Full Article: BBC News - Entire Maldives election commission sentenced.

Maldives: New president sworn in | Al Jazeera

The Maldives’ newly-elected President Abdulla Yameen pledged Sunday to end two years of political turmoil that have brought violent protests to the popular high-end tourist destination, as he was sworn in after defeating the favorite Mohamed Nasheed in a runoff. The win was a victory for the political old guard, who rallied around Yameen to defeat Nasheed – who was the Maldives’ first democratically elected leader, and was forced to resign last year in what he said was a coup. The election was the fourth attempt to choose a new president after three earlier ballots were either canceled or delayed, adding to tension between the rival political groups and drawing international condemnation. Yameen won 51.4 percent of the votes in Saturday’s ballot, in which 91 percent of the 240,000-strong electorate took part. “Rising out of political turmoil and establishing peace is a big responsibility as Maldives’ president and head of state,” Yameen said in his inaugural speech, after he was sworn in at a special session of parliament.

Full Article: Maldives swears in new president | Al Jazeera America.

Maldives: President Waheed to leave Maldives indefinitely two days before elections | Minivan News

President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan is to depart the Maldives indefinitely on Thursday night. Speaking to Haveeru, Waheed said he will be accompanying First Lady Ilham Hussein on a medical visit to Singapore. Although he said he would come back to the Maldives, he did not specify a return date. On Sunday, an hour before his presidency expired, Waheed declared he would remain as head of state until run off polls take place on November 16. “I do not think there is much I can do from here, things that I cannot do over the phone,” Waheed told Haveeru. President’s Office Spokesperson Masood Imad said he “wasn’t aware of any upcoming trips”.

Full Article: President Waheed to leave Maldives indefinitely two days before elections | Minivan News.

Maldives: A muddle of objections to Maldives presidential poll | Hindustan Times

A spate of scheduling, cancelling and annulling of elections over the last three months in the Maldives has eroded whatever little legitimacy was left in its public institutions. Instead of a return to democracy that should have happened in September, when the first presidential election was held and then declared invalid, faithfully cast votes have been left hanging in limbo. The latest attempt to conduct a presidential election ran into the familiar muddle of objections and obstruction from the Maldives’ Supreme Court determined to deny the frontrunner, Mohamed Nasheed, a chance to return to power after he was overthrown in a coup d’etat in 2012. The fact that Nasheed is consistently securing over 45% of the popular vote despite a hostile security and judicial establishment shows that the Maldivian people are believers in moderation. The president who took power after the coup, Mohammed Waheed, was rejected by the electorate in September. His paltry tally proved that the coup, carried out by the remnants of Maldives’ ancient regime loyal to the former strongman, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, lacked popular approval.

Full Article: Maldives presidential poll: a muddle of objections - Hindustan Times.

Maldives: Protests Over Delay of Election in Maldives | New York Times

Political turmoil deepened in the Maldives on Monday as the police clashed with protesters after a third attempt to hold a presidential election was thrown off course by a court order. The sitting president, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, said late Sunday that he would not leave office at midnight, when his term was to end under the country’s Constitution. He said that since no one had been elected to succeed him, he would stay on until Nov. 16, the Supreme Court’s proposed date for a runoff between the two leading candidates. “The Supreme Court has decided the government will continue, instead of going into a constitutional void,” Mr. Hassan said, according to Reuters. Hundreds of opposition supporters had gathered on the street before his announcement, calling on him to step down, and members of the security forces in riot gear used pepper spray and batons to disperse the crowd, witnesses said.

Full Article: Protests Over Delay of Election in Maldives - NYTimes.com.

Maldives: Supreme Court delays run-off vote | BBC

The Supreme Court in the Maldives has suspended a presidential election run-off, after protests from a candidate. On Saturday, ex-President Mohamed Nasheed polled nearly 47%, just short of the 50% needed for outright victory. The second round was to have taken place on Sunday, but the runner-up Abdulla Yameen sought a delay, saying he needed time to campaign afresh. Mr Nasheed has been seeking to regain power after he was forced to resign in 2012, sparking a political crisis. This is the third time the presidential elections have been derailed. A vote on 7 September was annulled by the Supreme Court after one candidate, Gasim Ibrahim, alleged irregularities, despite observer groups deeming the vote free and fair. The court also introduced new guidelines for elections.

Full Article: BBC News - Maldives election: Supreme Court delays run-off vote.

Maldives: The Importance Of The Three Presidential Candidates’ Meeting | Eurasia Review

Even as the rest of the world and Maldivians too had almost given up the country as on the brink of a political and leadership chaos, it has bounced back with the kind of verve and nerve that democracy entails at birth. The three presidential candidates met in what was not an entirely unexpected turn, and declared their intention to try and complete the poll process in time for an elected President to assume office on 11 November, the D-day under the constitutional scheme and national tradition. Meeting on Sunday night, former President Mohammed Nasheed of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), and his rivals, Abdulla Yameen of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Gasim Ibrahim (Jumhooree Party, JP) unanimously decided to approach the Election Commission (EC) for advancing the poll-dates. If their combined effort next morning when the met the EC officials did not fructify, it owed to the existing electoral scheme – or, so it would seem.

Full Article: Maldives: The Importance Of The Three Presidential Candidates' Meeting - Analysis Eurasia Review.

Maldives: Ambassadors warned of international restrictions if no president by November 11: Nasheed  | Minivan News

Foreign ambassadors have warned of international restrictions on trade and financial transactions if there is no president-elect by the end of the current presidential term on November 11, former President Mohamed Nasheed said at a press briefing yesterday (October 30). To avert such a scenario, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) presidential candidate suggested two solutions: the Supreme Court should review its judgment to annul the September 7 presidential election, or one of the two rival candidates should withdraw his candidacy “for the sake of the nation and Islam” ahead of the fresh polls scheduled for November 9. “Ambassadors of foreign nations that I meet are now saying very openly that if there is no president-elect by November 11 they would have to take action under their normal rules or procedures,” Nasheed said. A nation without an elected president is considered a dictatorship and prone to instability and unrest by the international community, he added. Nasheed referred to financial sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe on troubled states such as Sudan and Myanmar.

Full Article: Ambassadors warned of international restrictions if no president by November 11: Nasheed  | Minivan News.

Maldives: Judges undermining democracy: U.N. rights chief | Reuters

United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay accused the Maldives Supreme Court on Wednesday of undermining democracy in the Indian Ocean republic by interfering in its presidential elections. The former South African judge also argued that the court was lining up with Maldivian government efforts to cripple the opposition whose candidate led in a first round of voting on September 7. The court nullified the outcome. In a statement from her Geneva office, Pillay said she was alarmed that the court was “interfering excessively in the presidential elections and in so doing is subverting the democratic process” on the island chain. Pillay, officially U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, spoke as the Maldives waited to see if the first round of a new election set by the country’s independent electoral commission for November 9 would be allowed to go ahead.

Full Article: Maldives judges undermining democracy: U.N. rights chief | Reuters.

Maldives: Election dispute reveals the darker side of the Maldives | The National

The palm trees rustle lightly in the afternoon breeze as tourists laze around on sun-drenched beaches. Could anywhere be more idyllic than the Maldives in the winter? Few of those tourists are likely to be aware of the political storm that’s brewing on the islands as a cabal of politicians and businessmen grow increasingly desperate in their bid to prevent presidential elections. Police stormed into the offices of the Maldives’ Election Commission on the morning of October 26, saying the voter list had not been approved by all of the presidential candidates and the election would have to be cancelled.

Full Article: Election dispute reveals the darker side of the Maldives | The National.

Maldives: Police stopped election illegally, in violation of constitution: Human Rights Commission | Minivan News

Police blocked the Elections Commission (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, the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) has said. The commission said in a press statement yesterday (October 22) that it had replied to a letter sent by the Maldives Police Service (MPS) seeking to clarify which laws the police had violated and whether its claims on local media that police stopped the election were based on an investigation. Police said on their website on Monday (October 21) that claims of the police acting outside their law enforcement mandate were “misleading” and were made “without considering the truth of the matter at all.” The HRCM said in its reply that an investigation had been launched “immediately” upon learning that police had obstructed the EC on the morning of October 19 – an hour before polls were due to open. The commission’s staff went to the EC offices, made inquiries and sought information from the EC secretary general as well as police officers. “It was established with certainty through the commission’s inquiries that [police] stopped the Elections Commission from taking anything out [of its office],” HRCM said.

Full Article: Police stopped election illegally, in violation of constitution: Human Rights Commission | Minivan News.

Maldives: ‘They came to power in a coup, They will not leave’: There may never be an election, claims former leader | The Independent

The bitter battle over the future of the Maldives has intensified after the country’s former leader accused the current president of trying to indefinitely postpone elections and hang on to power at any cost. Two days after police prevented a presidential poll from going ahead, Mohamed Nasheed said President Mohamed Waheed should step down and allow an election to be held under the supervision of parliament. On Monday night, the office of Mr Waheed said a new vote had been scheduled for November 9. But earlier Mr Nasheed, a former political prisoner, said he doubted the authorities would allow a fair election to take place. “I don’t think there is going to be an election any time soon,” Mr Nasheed told The Independent, speaking from Male. “They have had the election and they have had the result, and we won. They came to power in a coup and they will not leave.” 

Full Article: 'They came to power in a coup, They will not leave': There may never be an election, claims former leader of Maldives - Asia - World - The Independent.

Maldives: New dates set for presidential election 2 days after police stopped scheduled revote | Associated Press

Maldives officials on Monday set a new date for the country’s presidential election two days after police stepped in to prevent a scheduled revote, claiming that the balloting was illegal. The move comes as a breakthrough in ending a political stalemate and as a reassurance to this troubled young democracy. But questions remain over how the island nation would bypass a constitutional vacuum because the new schedule may not produce a new president before the end of the incumbent’s term. Vice Elections Commissioner Ahmed Fayaz told reporters that the new election date would be Nov. 9 and if no candidate wins 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election would be held on Nov. 16. The constitution of the Maldives requires a president to be elected by Nov. 11, when sitting President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s term ends.

Full Article: Maldives set new dates for presidential election 2 days after police stopped scheduled revote - The Washington Post.

Maldives: Challenger Wants President To Resign |Associated Press

The leading candidate in the Maldives’ troubled presidential election demanded Sunday that the president resign and allow the parliamentary speaker to take over the government and oversee a fresh poll. Speaking to reporters a day after police stopped officials from holding a scheduled revote of last month’s election, Mohamed Nasheed accused President Mohamed Waheed Hassan of working with the country’s defense minister and police chief to obstruct the vote. The move by the police to stop Saturday’s revote came as the latest blow to this Indian Ocean island nation, which has seen much upheaval in its first five years as a democracy. Failing to elect a president by Nov. 11, when Hassan’s term ends, could bring about a constitutional crisis in the country. The Supreme Court earlier this month annulled the results of the Sept. 7 election, agreeing with a losing candidate that the voters’ list had made-up names and names of dead people. Nasheed led that election with more than 45 percent of the vote, but failed to secure a majority for an outright win.

Full Article: Maldives Election 2013: Challenger Wants President To Resign.

Maldives: Election official says holding Maldives presidential election on Saturday ‘becoming hopeless’ | The Washington Post

Holding the Maldives’ presidential revote on Saturday as scheduled is becoming “hopeless” because two candidates have not endorsed the register of voters as the Supreme Court mandated, the elections commissioner said Friday. Elections Commissioner Fuwad Thowfeek told the Associated Press that two of the three candidates have not signed the list by the deadline set by the commission and now he is running out of time to dispatch officials and ballot papers for voters overseas. The Supreme Court annulled the results of a Sept. 7 presidential election and ordered a revote, agreeing with a losing candidate that the voters’ register which was used had made-up names or listed dead people. 

Full Article: Election official says holding Maldives presidential election on Saturday ‘becoming hopeless’ - The Washington Post.

Maldives: Police halt presidential vote, supporters stage sit-in | Reuters

Maldives police forced a halt to a presidential election on Saturday, in what the leading candidate’s supporters said was a new coup as he called on them to block the streets in protest. The Indian Ocean archipelago which has been in turmoil since February 2012, when then-president Mohamed Nasheed was ousted by mutinying police, military forces and armed demonstrators. The election was due to be held on Saturday, after a vote in September was annulled over allegations of fraud. However, there had been confusion over whether it could go ahead as some candidates had still not signed a new voter register in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling early on Saturday to allow the election. Just hours before polls were due to open for the vote that Nasheed looked set to win, police surrounded the secretariat of the Elections Commission, forcing a delay condemned by the international community. Police said they could not support an election held “in contravention of the Supreme Court verdict and guidelines”.

Full Article: Maldives police halt presidential vote, supporters stage sit-in | Reuters.

Maldives: President doubts credibility of upcoming election | Business Standard

Maldives President Mohamed Waheed says he will remain an independent observer of the upcoming presidential election but expressed doubts over its credibility, Xinhua reported Wednesday citing local media. Speaking to the media on Eid-al Adha, Waheed, who earlier this week withdrew from running for a second term, insisted that he would not back any of the three candidates still in the fray. They include former president Mohammad Nasheed, who bagged 45.45 percent of the vote in the first round that was later annulled. The other two contenders are tycoon Gasim Ibrahim and autocratic former president Abdul Gayoom’s half-brother and MP, Abdulla Yamin. Both candidates polled nearly equally with only some 3,000 votes giving Yamin a slight edge. During the now defunct presidential poll held Sep 7, President Waheed obtained 5.13 percent of the popular vote, finishing last among the four candidates.

Full Article: Maldives president doubts credibility of upcoming election | Business Standard.

Maldives: Supreme Court’s annulment verdict “troubling” given ongoing international criticism of judiciary: Bar Human Rights Committee | Minivan News

The UK’s Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) has expressed concern at the annulment of the first round of presidential elections, stating that such a verdict was “particularly troubling in the context of the ongoing international criticism concerning the lack of independence of the Maldivian judiciary and the lack of adequate separation of powers.” The BHRC conducted independent observations of the trial of former President Mohamed Nasheed in the Hulhumale Magistrate Court earlier this year, a trial the MDP presidential candidate contended was a politically-motivated attempt to bar him from contesting the upcoming election. The BHRC concurred in its observation report: “BHRC is concerned that a primary motivation behind the present trial is a desire by those in power to exclude Mr Nasheed from standing in the 2013 elections, and notes international opinion that this would not be a positive outcome for the Maldives,” wrote observer Stephen Cragg on behalf of the BHRC, the international human rights arm of the Bar of England and Wales. In its most recent statement, the BHRC noted that the Supreme Court’s verdict to annul the September 7 election, in which Nasheed received 45.45 percent of the popular vote, “runs contrary to the conclusions of national and international election monitors, including the expert Commonwealth Observer Group, which confirmed that the electoral process was free, fair, well-organised and transparent. BHRC further notes with concern that the Court’s verdict appears to have been based on an unsubstantiated and as yet undisclosed police report.”

Full Article: Supreme Court’s annulment verdict “troubling” given ongoing international criticism of judiciary: Bar Human Rights Committee | Minivan News.