PRESS RELEASE

 

Date : 31 October 2013

 

Transparency Maldives condemns the attempts to shape laws and rules for protecting personal interests of the Members of the Parliament and abuse of parliamentary privileges and the institution of the Parliament.

 

Such attempts weaken the legal system and obstruct the rule of law. Similarly, such acts undermine the integrity of the Parliament, eroding public confidence in the institution.

 

Members of the Parliament must be provided with appropriate privileges and immunities in order to carry out their duties as lawmakers. However, Transparency Maldives reiterates its concern that the Parliamentary Privileges Act affords undue privileges and powers to the MPs.

 

Prosecutions through the courts must not be politically motivated. Transparency Maldives therefore calls on the courts, especially the Supreme Court, to ensure that cases against Members of the Parliament are treated impartially and without political motives.

 

ENDS.

 

For media inquiries, please contact Aiman Rasheed, Advocacy and Communications Manager on 00 960 7908967.

 

Please see these links for the statement in English and Dhivehi.


PRESS RELEASE

 

Date: October 19, 2013

 

Transparency Maldives is concerned that the Presidential Election had to be once again called off, and that a new date has not been set.

 

While the Constitutional deadlines for conducting the election have already been breached, we urge setting a new date immediately to ensure there is a democratically elected President by November 11, 2013.

 

The Maldivian Constitution enshrines separation of powers as fundamental and provides different roles and responsibilities to different independent institutions. As such, the Elections Commission has the mandate to conduct elections and set administrative procedures for holding such elections within the ambit of the law. Transparency Maldives therefore calls on all actors to refrain from obstructing this mandate and to respect the independence of the Commission.

 

Transparency Maldives reiterates that its extensive and systematic observation of the September 7 elections found no evidence of systematic fraud and no such evidence has so far been made public.

 

As all the powers of the state are derived from and remain with the people, and elections allow free expression of people’s will, Transparency Maldives appeals to all actors to facilitate the conduct of the Presidential Elections without further breach of the constitutionally stipulated electoral deadlines.

 

Transparency Maldives also believes that for long-term national interest and democratic consolidation, the Presidential Election must ensure the participation of all political actors and parties.

 

ENDS

 

For all media queries, please contact Advocacy and Communications Manager, Aiman Rasheed on 00 960 7908967.

 

Please see this link for the statement in English and Dhivehi.

 

Note: This post has been updated. English press statement text inserted and headline changed.


PRESS RELEASE

 

Date: October 18, 2013

 

Transparency Maldives will be conducting an independent and systematic observation of the polls on October 19, 2013.

 

To this end, Transparency Maldives has recruited and deployed over 400 fully trained election observers and volunteers across all 20 atolls.

 

As with the previous election, the observation is based on random sampling which will enable Transparency Maldives to comment on the quality of the elections for the entire country. This internationally recognized methodology has been employed in many countries.

 

The objective of Transparency Maldives observation is to build confidence in the electoral processes and promote transparency at this critical time. This systematic observation will help identify avenues to improve and strengthen electoral systems in the Maldives.

 

Transparency Maldives will hold two press conferences on election day. The first conference will be held at 1pm to comment on the quality of the opening of polls.

 

The second press conference will be held later in the evening to comment on overall election day processes including counting and closing of polls.

 

Both press conferences on election day will be held at Dharubaaruge.

 

ENDS

 

For all media queries, please contact Advocacy and Communications Manager, Aiman Rasheed on 00 960 7908967.

 

See these links for a PDF of the statement in English and Dhivehi.


13 October 2013

At the meeting of the National Advisory Committee for Elections (NAC) held at the Elections Commission’s (EC) headquarters on 13 October 2013, Transparency Maldives (TM) sought clarifications, made comments and observations and provided advise. Following is a summary of the discussion.

 

A representative of the Department of National Registration shall participate in the National Advisory Committee for Elections meetings, from 13 October 2013 onwards.

Updates by the Elections Commission
  • The registration system is currently down. However, the EC will continue to receive registration forms.
  • 30,000 registration forms have so far been processed, as of 2pm 13 October 2013.
  • The EC will be hiring an additional two polling officials for each of 7 and 10 member teams -a Communication Official to communicate with the EC as the officials are not allowed to carry in mobile phones, and an additional official who is tasked with ensuring that the voters list (not to be confused with the voters registry) is marked correctly at each polling station- to comply with the Supreme Court (SC) verdict number 2013/SC-C/42.
  • EC expressed gratitude towards the Maldives Media Council (MMC) for lodging a case at the SC that resulted in a SC Order (no. 2013/SC-SJ/08) that lifts the ban on media monitors to carry in equipment necessary for their media functions. The Order also allows observers to carry in equipment and materials necessary for observation. Candidate agents, however are not covered under the Order and can only carry in pens into the polling area.
Other Points of Note
  • DNR informed the NAC that as per the SC Order, in instances where citizens whose permanent address on their ID card and voters list do not match, will not be allowed to vote. DNR is yet to receive a list of the 2,830 persons mentioned in the SC verdict, whose permanent address on their ID cards do not match with the voters registry and hence are unable to verify the authenticity of the number. DNR is of the opinion, that based on their records, it is extremely unlikely that addresses of 2,830 citizens are mismatched. The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM), the Maldives Media Council (MMC), and Transparency Maldives all expressed concern that these 2,830 citizens may be deprived of their right to vote if their ID cards are not renewed to reflect the address on the voter registry.
  • PPM requested the EC to verify the registration forms and the finger prints, possibly by conducting a random verification of 10 forms per 1,000. The EC responded that it is not possible provided that state institutions do not have the capacity, records or the set up required to conduct such a verification process.
About the National Advisory Committee for Elections

The National Advisory Committee for Elections is convened by the Elections Commission 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.


PRESS RELEASE

 

Date: September 28, 2013

 

In resolving the rising tensions and disagreements in the country, Transparency Maldives appeals to all actors, especially the Supreme Court, to uphold the spirit of the Constitution and electoral deadlines and respect people’s electoral choice.

 

Transparency Maldives expresses concern over the delay of the second round of elections and rising tensions as Transparency Maldives did not receive any reports that suggest systematic fraud in its nationwide observation and no credible evidence that supports such allegations has been made public.

 

Electoral disputes and tensions must be resolved in a speedy manner, and in addressing issues of national interest, inclusiveness and acceptance of all relevant state and political actors are crucial for the long-term peace of the country.

 

ENDS

 

For all media queries, please contact Advocacy and Communications Manager, Aiman Rasheed on 00 960 7908967.

 

Please see these links for a PDF of the statement in English and Dhivehi.

 


PRESS RELEASE

 

Date: September 25, 2013

 

Transparency Maldives reiterates its concerns regarding the adverse impacts to the integrity of the Supreme Court due to the alleged questionable conduct of Justices and failure of state institutions to resolve contentious allegations against Justices and the institution of the Supreme Court.

 

Failure to address alleged integrity issues of the Supreme Court have created avenues for political and other actors to question the conduct, injunctions and verdicts of the Supreme Court. Expeditious resolution of such allegations and issues is imperative to ease rising tensions in the election environment and prevent the derailment of democratic processes.

 

Relevant state institutions, including the Judicial Service Commission and the Parliament of the Maldives must expedite the resolution of these issues and allegations, in a transparent manner free of conflict of interest, to reduce questioning of and allegations of partisan bias in such processes.

 

ENDS

 

For all media queries, please contact Advocacy and Communications Manager, Aiman Rasheed on 00 960 7908967.

 

Please see this link for a PDF of the statement in English and Dhivehi.


PRESS RELEASE

 

Date: September 19, 2013

 

In view of the cases submitted and allegations made at the High Court and Supreme Court of the Maldives regarding systematic vote rigging, Transparency Maldives notes that it did not find any evidence that support allegations of systematic election day fraud during the nation-wide observation.

 

Transparency Maldives conducted the only systematic and nation-wide domestic observation in the 2013 Presidential Elections. Key findings of the election observation include:

  • All ballots were counted and accounted for and ballot boxes were shown to be empty before commencement of polling;
  • Only 0.2% people were turned away because their names were not on the registry;
  • Transparency Maldives observers have not reported any incident of double voting, impersonation, underage voting or of indelible ink washing off;
  • Candidate representativeness was high during the counting process; and
  • The counting process proceeded without incident in 85.5% of the polling stations with all ballot papers accounted for. All issues raised during counting at polling stations were resolved at the stations where provisional results were announced.

Transparency Maldives appeals to all actors and institutions to refrain from undermining the integrity of and confidence in the election day processes without credible evidence of fraud.

 

ENDS

 

For all media queries, please contact Advocacy and Communications Manager, Aiman Rasheed on 00 960 7908967.

 

Please see these links for a PDF of the statement in English and Dhivehi.


12 September 2013

At the eleventh meeting of the National Advisory Committee for Elections (NAC) held at the Elections Commission’s (EC) headquarters on 12 September 2013, Transparency Maldives (TM) sought clarifications, made comments and observations and provided advise. A summary of the details follow.

 

The meeting was convened at the request of Jumhooree Party.

 

1. Jumhooree Party made three requests: 1. Recount of all 470 ballot boxes; 2. Provide JP the voter registry with ID card information; and 3. Copies of lists of all citizens who voted at each of the 470 polling stations.

 

1.1 Recount of all 470 ballot boxes

 

The EC informed the committee that counting all 470 ballot boxes is a huge challenge provided the limited time frame; and that the legal framework does not allow for opening of envelopes containing ballot papers for recounting without a basis.

 

The EC however stressed that the all members of the commission are willing to conduct a recount of any ballot box where credible evidence of fraud is presented to the commission.

 

All of the representatives of the candidates present at the meeting, except for MDP representative advised the EC to recount all 470 ballot boxes.

 

1.2. Provide JP with the voter registry, including the ID card information

 

The EC informed the committee that the EC is unable to do so as the ID card information is private information of citizens.

 

1.3 Copies of lists of all citizens who voted at each of the 470 polling stations

 

The EC informed the committee that the EC will provide the copies of lists of all citizens who voted at the 470 polling stations only at an order of the court as the legal framework prohibits the EC from handing over the information.

Other points of note
  • EC informed the committee that the final results of the first round of Presidential Election 2013 will be made public at 3pm, 14 September.
  • JP informed the committee that from their investigations, they have so far located on the voter registry: 659 deceased persons; 1,800 non-existent entrees that do not correspond to Department of National Registration data; 6,000 people who have been moved or put under households without their knowledge; 100 repeated names; and 20 reports of underage or children whose age were increased and then voted on 7 September 2013.
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.


Migrant workers sort and collect garbage in Thilafushi, an island fully reclaimed by dumping garbage into a lagoon. The migrant workers -mostly undocumented- endure toxic smoke and a heavily polluted environment daily. Oftentimes, in instances of accidents or workers who develop serious health conditions do not seek medical care as it may mean their visa status may be reported to the authorities, resulting in potential repatriation or expulsion.

Transparency Maldives conducted outreach activities in Thilafushi to provide with basic information on administrative processes, fees and access to immigration authorities. An exchange fellow from TI- Bangladesh helps us communicate with migrant workers as most cannot speak Dhivehi or English.


Transparency Maldives commends the Elections Commission for a well administered election

PRESS RELEASE

 

Date: September 7, 2013

 

Transparency Maldives deeply appreciates and thanks the 400+ observers and volunteers in our network, based in 20 atolls and a number of foreign countries. Without them this domestic observation would not have been a success. They have ensured increased public participation in and the transparency of electoral processes.

 

Our observers collected both qualitative and quantitative data on election day. The methodology used is a systematic one based on random sampling. That approach allows us to reliably generate results from the sample to the entire population within a known margin of error. In this case our margin of error is less than +/- 1%.

 

Transparency Maldives believes that an independent observation effort promotes greater levels of trust in our electoral processes.

 

The observer network performed magnificently. 95% of the sample was reported within 3 hours of the scheduled time for closing of polls. The following are the key findings we would like to highlight.

 

99.5% of polling stations closed by 5:00 p.m.

 

There were reports that people were not able to vote because their names were not on the voter registry, but this affected very few cases (less than 0.2% of all voters). We note that only 0.05% complained at the polling stations that they were unable to vote at that location.

 

Voting was temporarily halted in 3.8% of polling stations. Half of these cases were interventions at the direction of the Presiding Officer. The remaining instances involve an unruly voter or two, or an enthusiastic political party member. The scale of these problem are minor.

 

Despite a few isolated cases of reported violence in (1.4%) of the polling stations, we are happy to report that this election has been peaceful. The incidents of violence were reported to the relevant authorities and we will be closely monitoring any further developments.

 

We note that the police entered 18.8% of polling stations. But in 80% of these cases, interventions were at the invitation of the Presiding Officer as the rules allow.

 

Candidates were well-represented during the counting, making the process transparent and adding to its credibility. Gasim Ibrahim was represented at 73.7% of polling stations during the vote count. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik was represented at 29.6% of polling stations during the vote count. Abdulla Yameen was represented at 74.2% of polling stations during the vote count. Mohamed Nasheed was represented at 91.5% of polling stations during the vote count.

 

While only 0.22% of ballot papers were disputed by the candidate/party observers during counting, in the vast majority of polling stations (85.5%), the counting concluded without any controversy.

 

82.6% of polling stations reported assisted voters.

 

From our elections observation we are confident to announce that Mr. Mohamed Nasheed made it to the second round. However, the differences in the vote counts between the second and third candidates were so close that, for statistical reasons we cannot reliably distinguish between who was second and who was third. The margin of error (+/-1%) was larger then the difference between the votes of Abdulla Yameen and Gasim Ibrahim. It is now for the Elections Commission to tally all of the votes and on the basis of a complete count to declare who will be the candidates for the second round.

 

We once again thank the stakeholders for maintaining a conducive environment for a peaceful election. ENDS

 

For media inquiries please contact Aiman Rasheed, Advocacy and Communications Manager on 00 960 7908967.

 

See these links for a PDF copy of the statement: English

 


Transparency Maldives commends the Elections Commission for the smooth opening of the polls

 

Date: September 7, 2013

 

Transparency Maldives observer network has a wide national coverage spanning resorts, prisons, and abroad, including London, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Delhi and Colombo. Transparency Maldives thanks the 400+ observers deployed across the country for their dedication in observing the election processes.

 

The results we report are generalisable to the entire country. These results are based on the observation at the time of opening of polls.

 

The opening of the polls was smooth, and the administrative preparation and execution went well, for which the Elections Commission and relevant stakeholders deserve credit.The opening procedure went well with 99.5% of all polling stations open by 8.30 am and 83% of polling stations open within the first 10 minutes of the required opening time.

 

Nearly all polling station officials were properly in place at all polling stations. The queue controller was absent at 4.1% and the polling station controller was absent at 7.2% of observed polling stations.

 

The materials required for voting were present and the ballot papers were counted and reconciled at all polling stations and all ballot boxes were verified as empty at the start.

 

Candidates were well represented at polling stations. Two or more candidate/party observers were present at 82.4% of all observed polling stations. One candidate/party observer was present at 13.6% of polling stations whilst no candidate/party observer was present in 4.1% of cases.

 

Transparency Maldives also notes that police were present at 95% of the observed polling stations at the opening time.

 

Observers concluded that the polling stations were set up to ensure a secret vote in the vast majority of cases (98.2%). This was less clear in about 2% of all cases observed. These polling stations will be closely watched.

 

We encourage all parties to maintain the peace. Our observers are working hard at polling stations and will be present at the polling stations till closing.

 

We will be informing you the precise time of our next press conference later this afternoon.

 

ENDS

 

For all media queries, please contact Advocacy and Communications Manager, Aiman Rasheed (00 960 7908967).

 

Please see this link for the statement in Dhivehi (PDF): Dhivehi

 

 

Please see this link for the statement in English (PDF): English


TM appeals to maintain the prevailing environment of peace

Transparency Maldives long term election observation reports that campaigning for the upcoming presidential elections in the Maldives has been generally free and peaceful, and calls on stakeholders to maintain the climate of peace.

 

Nevertheless sporadic cases of violence, disruptions, vote buying, and misuse of public resources have been reported.

 

Transparency Maldives is the only independent organization conducting an extensive and systematic monitoring of the polls.

 

Transparency Maldives has deployed over 400 fully trained election observers and volunteers across all 20 atolls.

 

The observation is based on random sampling which will enable Transparency Maldives to comment on the quality of the elections for the entire country. This internationally recognized methodology has been employed in many countries.

 

The objective of Transparency Maldives observation is to build confidence in the electoral processes and promote transparency. This systematic observation will help identify avenues to improve and strengthen electoral systems in the Maldives.

 

Transparency Maldives will hold two press conferences on election day. The first conference will be held at 1pm to comment on the quality of the opening of polls.

 

The second press conference will be held at 8pm to comment on overall election day processes including counting and closing of polls.

 

Both press conferences on election day will be held at Traders Hotel.

 

For media queries, please call Advocacy and Communications Manager, Mr. Aiman Rasheed (00 960 7908967).

 

Please see this link for the statement in Dhivehi: DHI_PressStatementTemplate_01 Pre election

 

Please see this link for the statement in English: ENG_PressStatementTemplate_01 Pre election