25 August 2013
At the fifth 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. EC will be signing an MoU with the Maldives Police Service and the draft of the MoU is currently being circulated for comments. EC expects the MoU to be signed with MPS in the next few days. Transparency Maldives has in the past Advisory Committee meetings, advocated for and advised the EC to come to an understanding with the MPS that clarifying the roles and responsibilities of MPS and EC as regards security, communication and emergency intervention protocols
2. The issue of early announcement of results at polling stations in Malaysia and Singapore negatively affecting voting in Maldives were discussed. Delay in announcement of results was suggested by a member of the NAC. Transparency Maldives advised the EC to proceed as planned as delay of results may create suspicion and will also be in conflict with the electoral legal framework.
Outcome: EC will inform the Committee of their decision.
3. NAC members queried the EC regarding their voter education programs and their impact. NAC members felt that the EC should be doing more to educate voters. TM advised EC to conduct additional voter education on aspects of voting to ensure invalid ballots are minimized and citizens are clear regarding valid and invalid ballots.
4. The issue of Commissioner of Police, Riyaz broadcasting a short message via twitter that is widely believed to be a partisan message was brought forward for the consideration of the committee. EC informed the the committee that appropriate measures will be taken by the EC and has since requested the Police Integrity Commission to investigate the case. MPS representative informed the committee that the MPS has internal mechanisms to deal with alleged breaches and misconduct.
5. MDP raised the issue of 91 people being registered twice. The Committee was informed by the EC of internal mechanisms instituted such as sending accompanying notes with the voter registry where such double entries have occurred. The 91 entries had occurred primarily due to 200 persons with double ID card numbers in the system.
Other points of note
MDP informed the Committee that the party will conduct an exit poll on election day.
Updates by the Elections Commission
Voter lists have been dispatched to island offices. These lists will not include ID card numbers and birthdates to protect the privacy voters.
Ballot papers have been printed. The total number of printed ballot papers equal the total number of registered voters plus 1% of the registered voters.
EC has decided to publish a list of voters following the election day, and see no legal barriers preventing the publishing of such a list.
EC implores voters to utilize formal complaints mechanism (the Complaints Bureaus) for submitting complaints instead of informal mechanisms such as calling up EC’s hotlines.
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.