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.
Presenting the EU’s statement, Chief Observer Eduard Kukan said that although the voting was “calm and orderly,” with the process conducted in a “professional, impartial and transparent manner,” the Supreme Court’s removal of two members of the Elections Commission less than two weeks before the poll “raised serious concerns” and “overshadowed the electoral period.”
“The [Supreme Court’s] consequent removal of the chairperson and his deputy represented an assertion of power reserved to parliament. It was a violation of the rules in both the constitution and the Elections Commission Act,” the EU statement noted.
Similarly, the Commonwealth group’s interim statement — presented by the Chair Bruce Golding — congratulated the Maldives on holding a “peaceful and conclusive election,” but was ” deeply concerned” by the Supreme Court’s actions which ” inevitably had a negative effect on the overall electoral environment.”