Politics

Polling stations scrapped for Singapore, Delhi and nine resorts

The Elections Commission has decided not to open polling stations in Singapore, New Delhi and nine resorts.

Fewer than 200 people registered to vote in Singapore and New Delhi, the EC announced Saturday, which was the threshold for setting up overseas polling stations.

At least 100 resort workers were required to register to keep a ballot box on resort islands.

But fewer than 100 did for Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi (Kaafu Atoll), Vakkaru Maldives (Baa Atoll), Amilla Fushi and Coastline Residence (Baa), Atmosphere Kanifushi (Lhaviyani Atoll), Cocoon Maldives (Lhaviyani), Constance Halaveli (Alif Alif Atoll), Amari Havodda (Gaaf Dhaal Atoll), Kanuhuraa (Lhaviyani), and Robinson Club (Noonu Atoll).

Those who sought to vote in Singapore, Delhi and the nine resorts will be able to submit re-registration forms between Monday and Wednesday, the EC said.

EC member Ahmed Akram told the Maldives Independent that 5,626 re-registration forms that were cancelled last week include resort workers and those who applied to vote overseas.

The forms were rejected due to invalid information or unverifiable fingerprints, the EC said.

If they fail to resubmit their forms in the time-frame permitted, they can only vote on their island of permanent residence.

Forms can be submitted to the election centre in Malé, council offices on other islands, and embassies and consulate offices overseas.

Akram said the EC was hoping to release re-registration details later on Sunday.

The EC has been under fire from the opposition with allegations of registration fraud and collusion with the ruling party to favour the incumbent.

But the five-member commission, led by a loyalist of President Abdulla Yameen, denies the allegations.

The opposition coalition alleges that most of the annulled re-registration forms were from their supporters, including the mother and three aunts of candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

But the Progressive Party of Maldives said in a statement Saturday night that the cancelled forms include many submitted by the ruling party, accusing the opposition of misleading the public.

If forms were rejected or people were registered to wrong locations, the PPM said they have the opportunity to resubmit correct applications.

The opposition has been calling on the EC to publish the list of re-registered voters as well as the final voter list with identity card numbers, which it says are necessary for verification ahead of the September 23 vote.

It emerged earlier this month that several people were re-registered elsewhere despite not applying.

But if there was fraud, political parties were to blame, EC chief Ahmed Shareef said, vowing to seek criminal prosecutions.

The opposition also questions the EC’s figure of 95,000 re-registrations forms. It is unrealistically higher than the 62,000 people who re-registered for the last parliamentary elections in 2014, the opposition says.

About 263,000 people are eligible to vote this year.

Last week, the local chapter of Transparency International warned that “the widespread complaints against the process of re-registration indicates the possibility of disenfranchisement of significant number of voters.”

Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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