4 August 2013

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.

 

At the second meeting of the National Advisory Committee for Elections held at the Elections Commission’s headquarters on 4 August 2013, Transparency Maldives 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. TM advised the EC to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Maldives Police Service (MPS) with regard to the authority of the EC staff in charge of elections and the police officer stationed at the polling center. As per the electoral legal framework, the lead EC staff is in charge of the polling area and any intervention from the police must be made upon the request of the EC staff in charge. However, the protocols for intervention in an emergency has not been cleared though the EC and there is no common understanding of such protocols. Additionally, both the MPS and EC have separately commenced training of their staffs and officials without the protocols in place. It is imperative that the MPS and the EC come to an understanding, and details of the such an MoU or document must be publicized to build trust between MPS, EC and the public. TM also recommended the roles of responsibilities of the police be made public at the polling station via posters.

 

Outcome: The NAC was informed that the issue will be discussed at the next EC meeting on 5 August 2013.

 

2. TM requested for the minute details of standards to determine physical disability, and chronological steps of the counting and assisted voting processes as such details have not been made public yet. Assisted voting was a major concern for Transparency Maldives in the Local Council Elections due to the room for negative impact on the free exercise of the franchise in the absence of clear procedures.

 

Outcome: EC informed the NAC that the requested details will be published as part of the Officials’ Handbook and will be made available for the NAC at the earliest.

 

3. TM sought clarifications on the problems with the resort voting. As per the legal framework, a ballot box can only be placed once 50 voters are registered at the resort and if the required 50 voters is not reached, the persons who have registered will default to their permanent residence registry. TM requested EC to allow for administrative leniency in such instances for re-registration to enable such voters to re-register at a place of their choice upon finding that the required number was not reached.

 

Outcome: EC informed the NAC that staff of resorts have been informed via resort administrations to register to ballot boxes in nearby islands should the required number not be reached by 6. The deadline for re-registration is 7 August 2013.

 

4. TM sought clarifications from the MPS and the EC as to why MPS was collecting details of deceased persons from islands.

 

Outcome: MPS representative clarified that the MPS is collecting the data for investigation purposes due to complaints of ghost voter registration, upon request of EC.

 

5. TM sought an update on the numbers of new ID cards issued. The EC at the first meeting of the NAC informed that 6,500 plus citizens will require to renew ID cards to vote.

 

Outcome: The EC will clarify with the Department of National Registration (DNR) and provide an update to the NAC at the next NAC meeting.

Other points of note:

  • EC informed the NAC that 300 plus persons with double identity card numbers are on the voter registry. The 300 persons can theoretically be issued 600 ID cards. Over a 1,000 such entries have been removed by the EC by communicating directly with persons. EC proposed and the NAC agreed that the EC may put two fields for both ID numbers for persons assigned double numbers so that once a person votes with one of such ID card, the person will then not be able to vote with the second ID card.
  • With 3 days to the re-registration deadline, 44,000 of an estimated 65,000 are now registered.
  • The EC has been assured by the DNR that ID cards for about 350 inmates will be provided in time for voting.

President of Elections Commission Fuwad Thaufeeq addesses TMs Long-Term Observers

 

President of Elections Commission, Fuwad Thaufeeq addesses TM’s Long-Term Observers.

 

6 July 2013: Transparency Maldives has started a training programme for its Long-Term Observers for the upcoming Presidential Elections in the Maldives. The three-day training programme started on Saturday.

 

The long-term election observation the first of its kind in the Maldives will cover all atolls of the country and will consist of up to 42 observers deployed in selected islands as well as 200 plus observers on election day.

 

The LTOs will monitor areas such as campaigning, pre-election electoral processes, voter education, vote buying and misuse of state resources. The LTOs will regularly meet with all key stakeholders and seek their feedback.

 

The objectives of the long-term observation include increasing confidence in the electoral processes, increase civil society participation in the democratic process, and make recommendations on areas that could be further improved.

 

At the function to launch the training, President of the Elections Commission, Mr Fuwad Thaufeeq, addressed the participants, highlighting the need for domestic observers and the positive role of domestic observers in strengthening the electoral system.

 

The training is conducted by experts and representatives from relevant state institutions, including the Elections Commission, Anti-Corruption Commission, the Maldives Police Service, and staff of Transparency Maldives.

 

Commenting on the training, TM’s Executive Director Ilham Mohamed said: “We are excited to experiment the first ever systematic long-term domestic election observation in the Maldives. We are preparing for a comprehensive Election Day observation recruiting up to 200 observers who will be assigned to randomly selected ballot boxes.”

 

“We thank and recognize the contributions of domestic elections observers towards a credible elections.”

 

ENDS

 

For more information please contact Advocacy and Communications Manager

Mr Aiman Rasheed, mobile:+960 7908967

 

To download Dhivehi and English press releases:

 

press_election_lto_dhivehi

 

press_election_lto_english


Elections Commission publishes the voter registry of eligible voters for the presidential election 2013. Deadline for voter verification is 9 June 2013, 04:00pm. To ensure that you are able to vote, check your information online at www.elections.gov.mv

 

If there are any problems in the information, fill in this form and send to Elections Commission with a copy of your National ID card or Passport or Driver’s license.

 

If your information is correct and you wish to vote in a place different from the address on the voter registry, you will get a chance to re-register when Elections Commission open for re-registration.

 

How to check your information:

1 – Send a message to 1414 with the key word VIS (space) Your National ID Card Number

2 – You could also visit the Elections Commission website and enter your National ID Card Number to view your details

3 – Call 1414

4 – Voter registry published on gazette and on Elections Commission website

 

Where can you send your complaints?

1 – Elections Commission

2 – Presidential Elections 2013 registration center

3 – Island Councils

4 – Email to vreg@elections.gov.mv

5 – Fax to 300 7905

6 – Help Desks located at different areas of Male’


BHithaadhoo Voter Education

 

TM team with the participants of the voter education program, B.Hithaadhoo

 

Transparency Maldives has commenced a voter education programme focusing on elections and democracy, importance of informed choice and the negative impacts of vote buying.

 

TM travelled to B. Hithaadhoo (2-4 May 2013) and has planned to conduct voter education in Thinadhoo, Gadhdhoo, Gemanafushi and Viliginli from Thursday (9 May 2013) onwards.

 

The current phase of the programme is targeted at island communities. However, TM will expand the programme in the run-up to the elections, utilizing broadcast media and social media to reach out to a wider audience.

 

In the meantime, TM is also collaborating with Maldives Broadcasting Corporation in their voter education campaign, Votah Tayyaaru program broadcast live on TVM, Dhivehi FM and Dhivehiraajjeyge Adu on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday respectively of every week.

 

TM’s Pre-Election Assessment found that there is an immense need to conduct voter education to address the sociopolitical and trust issues and minimize the negative influence of money in politics i.e. vote buying in elections.


Transparency Maldives met with the members of the Elections Commission on the 3rd of April to discuss on implementing the key recommendations in its recently published Pre-Election Assessment. The EC welcomed TM’s report and assured the commission’s consideration of the findings of the report. Recommendations in the report regarding the legal electoral framework, voter education, and elections dispute resolution were discussed at the meeting.

 

Transparency Maldives met the EC on April 18, to discuss recommendations proposed by Transparency Maldives to the Presidential Elections Regulation 2013.

 

General recommendations proposed by Transparency Maldives regarding the complaints system, early convening of the national advisory board, voter issues, campaign financing, and media issues were discussed.

 

In addition to it’s meetings with Elections Commission Transparency Maldives has met with and continues to meet with stakeholders including the public broadcaster Television Maldives, Anti Corruption Commission of Maldives to advocate for changes to the electoral framework and push for recommendations identified in the Pre-Election Assessment 2013.


TM releases its pre-election assessment

 

TM releases its pre-election assessment.[/caption]

 

A pre-election assessment conducted by Transparency Maldives has concluded that trust and confidence in the political system, relevant institutions and institutional processes, needed to be increased and maintained for holding successful presidential elections later this year.

 

The assessment, which was based on interviews with key stakeholders and focus group discussions, highlighted the need for increasing and maintaining confidence in the electoral administration and processes, and recommends the Elections Commission to proactively and regularly engage with relevant actors.

 

“Several interlocutors we met highlighted that there was a need for the Elections Commission to be more proactive. There is a concern that everyone was not on board as the EC prepares for the elections”, TM’s Advocacy Manager Aiman Rasheed commented.

 

Similarly, the assessment recommended that institutions such as the judiciary that handles any case affecting the electoral rights of voters and candidates must ensure public confidence and must be unquestionable.

 

The assessment also found that a crisis of confidence and trust in politicians sincerity to deliver on their promises was one of the main reasons for the practice of vote buying.

 

As a key recommendation, the assessment calls on the EC, the media and the civil society, to organise urgent voter education and constructive public debate around issues.

 

In the assessment, the elections complaints and dispute resolution system was described as broken and lacking stakeholder trust.

 

“Almost all of the interlocutors we met described the electoral complaints system as an utter failure,” said Mr Rasheed.

 

Part of the solution we propose is establishing an interagency task force between relevant institutions such as the Police, the Prosecutor General, the Anti-Corruption Commission, and the EC.

 

We have also recommended for urgent reforms to the electoral legal framework to establish an independent complaints tribunal, and better regulate the most problematic areas such as political finance and interagency jurisdictional issues.

 

Without such reforms, what the assessment calls the culture of misuse of state resources could not be addressed too, Mr Rasheed added.

 

The pre-election assessment is part of TM’s comprehensive Elections Program to conduct nation-wide observation of the upcoming elections.

 

The assessment was released at a press conference on Thursday.

 

To download the assessment tm_pre_election_assessment

 

To download Dhivehi press release elections_pressrelease

 

Media contact:

 

Aiman Rasheed, Advocacy and Communications Manager

Mobile: +960 7908967

Email: aiman.rasheed@transparencymaldives.org


The upcoming Presidential Elections are headed to unfold against a context of uncertainty, crises

of political legitimacy and unprecedented levels of political polarization. The latter is characterized

by mistrust, categorical negative framing of one another and by the lack of self-accountability

of institutions, politicians and their parties for their role in existing political crises. The electoral

background is therefore discouraging.

This assessment highlights key indicators on freedom, fairness and inclusiveness that will effect the quality of the elections and recommendations for key parties to ensure free, fair and inclusive elections and tackle wider issues of electoral system such as vote-buying and misuse of public resources.

Download
Pre-election Assessment – 2013 Presidential Election


stakeholder

 

Transparency Maldives met with key stakeholders on Sunday to share the findings and recommendations of its Pre-Election Assessment for the upcoming presidential elections, which is to be released soon.

 

The forum was attended by, among others, Members of Parliament from political parties, the government, the Elections Commission, the Auditor General’s Office, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Maldives Police Service, the Maldives Broadcasting Commission.

 

A lively discussion followed the presentation by Transparency Maldives, in which participants welcomed the findings and the recommendations.

 

Transparency Maldives Spokesperson Aiman Rasheed commented: “Transparency Maldives hopes with this stakeholder meeting and the release of the report to the public soon, constructive debate will take place around issues for the upcoming elections, paving way for addressing those issues.”

 

The Pre-Election Assessment covers areas such as the electoral and political environment, electoral administration and processes and the electoral legal framework.


The collated reports of the Presidential Election 2008, Parliamentary Elections 2009 and Local Council Elections 2011 are published by Transparency Maldives as part of the domestic observation efforts for the presidential, parliamentary and local council elections.

 

Domestic observation for the Presidential Election 2008 was supported by the Royal Embassy of Netherlands, United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and AusAID. Domestic observation efforts for the Parliamentary Election 2009 and Local Council Elections 2011 were supported by the Royal Embassy of the Switzerland and the UNDP Maldives.

 

Click to view/download report