Election law changes proposed by government

 The government wants to change election laws to include controversial and widely condemned Supreme Court guidelines that annulled the first round of presidential polls in 2013.

Under the proposed changes the Elections Commission would have to get candidates or their representatives to approve and verify the voter list before an election can take place, which is currently illegal.

Another amendment would ensure that only a voter list approved and verified by candidates or their representatives is used in the Maldives or abroad. Presidential polls are scheduled to take place this year.

Attorney General Mohamed Anil told state media’s Raajje Miadhu programme the changes would be proposed once parliament resumes after recess and would ensure fair elections, Mihaaru reported.

“We have included the points in that guideline so that it can be incorporated into the Presidential Election Act, the General Act on Elections and the Parliamentary Elections Act,” Anil said.

The new amendments would strengthen the voter registration process and include stricter measures to curb voter influencing, he added.

The Supreme Court guidelines were criticised by the EC, which saw them as restrictions that undermined its independence.

UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay accused the Supreme Court of “interfering excessively in the presidential elections, and in so doing is subverting the democratic process and violating the right of Maldivians to freely elect their representatives.”

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