18 August 2013
At the fourth meeting of the National Advisory Committee for Elections (NAC) held at the Elections Commission’s (EC) headquarters on 18 August 2013, Transparency Maldives (TM) sought clarifications, made comments and observations and gave advice. Citizen concerns raised through social media were conveyed to EC. A summary of the details follow.
1. Mohamed Aslam, the representative of the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) to the NAC, requested EC to reconsider its decision to not work/collaborate with the MBC in implementing Article 30 of the General Elections Act pertaining to provision of equal opportunity for candidates to campaign on broadcast media.
Transparency Maldives also requested EC to reconsider the decision as cooperation and coordination between relevant institutions is key in implementing the spirit of the relevant Acts, provided the confusions and lack of clarity in the legal framework. For additional information on the issue, see Chapter 2.1.3, Media section, page 18-19 of the Pre-Election Assessment 2013 by Transparency Maldives.
Outcome: EC informed that the commission may consider the advice of TM and others.
2. Transparency Maldives and Maldives Police Service (MPS) requested for clarity on the decisions made by the EC on issues raised by the members of the NAC. MPS specifically raised the issue of the proposals for an MoU between EC and MPS regarding clarification of roles and responsibilities and protocols of intervention by MPS on election day for the purpose of maintaining security during and on election day. (See Transparency Maldives’ blogpost on the 2nd meeting of the NAC).
Outcome: EC informed the NAC that the NAC meeting is scheduled for Sunday of every week so that the issues raised at the NAC can be discussed at the EC meeting the following day, every Monday of the week.
3. Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) raised the issue of the integrity of IT systems of the EC, with regard to EC’s databases and softwares, and that the party implores the EC to conduct an independent expert review to guarantee the integrity of the systems. The EC had earlier publicly stated that no party can have access to it’s softwares citing potential hacking and compromise of the security of the systems.
TM advised the EC to allow as much transparency as possible without compromising the security of the softwares as trust in electoral systems is key to prevention of potential conflict. TM noted that the fears raised by PPM can be allayed without compromising the integrity and security of the IT systems. TM also noted that the issue originally arose due to the failure of the EC to communicate the work of the EC. TM advised the EC to proactively communicate it’s work to prevent suspicion and confusion.
Outcome: EC said that commission may consider the advice by the TM.
Other points of note:
- Voter registration issues were discussed at the NAC. EC provided updates on current issues including the change of location of ballot boxes for reasons of security, convenience and finance.
About the National Advisory Committee for Elections
The National Advisory Committee (NAC) is convened by the Elections Commission (EC) and is the highest statutory advisory body for elections. The committee comprises the five members of the Elections Commission, a representative of each of the four candidates contesting the Presidential Elections 2013, a member of the Maldives Broadcasting Commission, Maldives Media Council and the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives, a representative of the Maldives Police Service and civil society.
Transparency Maldives’ (TM) Advocacy and Communications Manager, Aiman Rasheed sits on the National Advisory Committee for Elections as the civil society representative.
Links to previous NAC meeting updates are given below.