Opposition protest delay in closing local elections voting centres

Chairperson of MDP Dr Hassan Latheef (L) and his deputy Mohamed Shifaz speak to reporters about the Local Council Elections 2017. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

Joint opposition parties have expressed distress over the delay in closing ballot boxes during the Local Council Elections voting that took place Saturday.

Speaking at a press conference held by the joint opposition, Jumhoory Party (JP)’s Deputy Leader Hussain Rasheed proclaimed that the ballot closing was delayed unlawfully by the Elections Commission and that it was not discussed with any of the political parties. Noting that such an action is not authorized by the mandate of the EC, he also accused that it was done to find incongruous benefit.

However, EC has claimed that the decision was taken once requested by political parties and after reviewing that there is no constitutional obstruction in doing so.

Deputy Chairperson of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Shifaz Mohamed added that they have several concerns regarding the election which include candidates and their representatives not receiving official passes, electoral registry not having the names of some eligible voters, and voters being informed of two different voting venues when inquired via the SMS system.

MDP’s Chairperson’s deputy Ali Niyaz added that the exit polls also show that a larger percentage of MDP supporters voted in comparison to supporters of the ruling coalition, and he reiterated that the EC members must resign from their posts.

Chairperson of MDP Dr Hassan Latheef added that under Subject 13(b) of Elections General Act, the EC is bound to make a public announcement prior to the election announcing the opening time and closing time of the ballots which would only be extended for voters waiting in queue at the time of deadline.

EC extended the voting hours in the nick of time on Saturday afternoon, claiming that several ballot boxes were not opened for voting at the given starting time.

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Source URL: Mihaaru-News

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