Controversy over “campaigning” statements by Maldives pres, Nasheed

Composite image of President Yameen (L) and Former President Nasheed.

Statements made by President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and Former President Mohamed Nasheed amidst the ongoing Local Council Elections sparked controversy among the public on Saturday as to whether the two presidents are illicitly campaigning in the middle of voting.

Speaking to reporters early Saturday after casting his vote, President Yameen stated that as a member of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), he has high hopes that the people would support PPM candidates.

“I hope that the people will vote for the harmony and development of the Maldives in this vote,” said the president. His comment was broadcast live on national television but was later omitted when it was aired again.

Meanwhile, Former President Nasheed said in a series of tweets that the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) will succeed the elections.

“Amidst confusion and delay, voting begins in local council elections. Experts say Gov can rig 20% of vote. But MDP will still win,” he said in one tweet early Saturday, which was later followed by, “30% voted by noon. Final turn out estimated to be at 70%. A higher turnout than this is likely to be stuffed ballots.”

The comments by the two presidents have sparked controversy and debate on social media, where some people are accusing President Yameen and Former President Nasheed of indirectly campaigning for their respective political parties. Others have defended the presidents, declaring that their statements do not count as campaigning but as addressing issues facing the situation.

The Elections General Act bans all campaign activities for any candidates from 6:00 p.m. the day before the elections begin until 6:00 a.m. the morning of the final day. The Act further bans any actions that infringe the electoral rights of candidates or the spread of false information regarding any of the candidates.

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Source URL: Mihaaru-News

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