Recent weeks have seen dramatic changes to how – and where – Maldivians will be able to vote in the September 23 presidential election. These include how many resorts will have ballot boxes for local workers, and who can help the disabled on polling day. Following is a timeline of changes, reactions and U-turns.
July 2 – The Elections Commission (EC) advises people not to change their registered island between July 1 and September 23 as they could lose the right to vote in the presidential election.
July 3 – The EC announces the voter list will not have photos.
July 4 – Housing Minister Mohamed Muizzu says there will be no obstacle to voting if people change their registered island on the dhaftharu* as there will be no effect on the voting list. He encourages people to choose the Malé dhaftharu, with promises of social housing opportunities.
The Housing Ministry says islanders who register as residents of Malé will have their name on the dhaftharu after September 23, so there is no interference with the voter list for the presidential election.
July 17 – The EC announces its staff will help people with disabilities to vote, drawing a backlash and even the threat of a lawsuit. It clarifies “false allegations” in the media about the resort ballot box move.
July 22 – An additional 28 resorts register for voting, increasing the number of resort ballot boxes to 35.
July 22 – The Department of National Registration says it will not take responsibility if people lose their right to vote over information changes to their ID card, after it is revealed that those renewing their ID card have to sign a consent form saying they have no objection to losing their right to vote when changing their full name, permanent address or birthday.
A DNR spokesman adds people are changing their ID card information after dhaftharu registration.
Govt is forcing ppl to choose between applying for housing & voting:esp outrageous, given the acute housing shortage.
— Eva Abdulla 🎈❓ (@evattey) July 22, 2018
Ministries and state companies ask employees who need to re-register for voting on their island of residence to do so through their companies, under the supervision of political appointees. The re-registration forms are then handed over to the ruling party. The joint opposition presidential candidate Ibrahim Solih expresses concern: “I ask that things are not done that will narrow the right to vote. Every citizen has the right to re-register at their own convenience.”
Prison staff are ordered to vote in jails or detention centres.
July 23 – The EC publishes the Presidential Election Regulation. It says photos will be on voter lists.
“Thank God. I thank @ElectionsMV for amending the regulation so that the voter list at polling stations, the candidate list outside polling stations, and the voter list sent to political parties must have photo and ID card number. Amend all such issues that create suspicion,” lawmaker Ahmed Mahloof says.
An EC spokesman says there is a publication mistake in the regulation and that the voter list will not have any photos due to multiple complaints from “people who wear the niqab.” It says the regulation will be re-published after removing the item about photos on voter lists.
“The Elections Commission cannot say it was a mistake after the regulation was published following discussions with president’s office, PG and EC’s legal teams. [They] can’t say it’s a mistake in fear of Yameen’s order. [They] can’t change regulation again before elections,” says Mahloof.
Police break up an opposition protest in Malé calling for EC boss Ahmed Shareef to be sacked and for a free and fair election to be held.
The DNR says the service to renew ID cards with amended information will be suspend so that people do not lose their right to vote.
*Dhaftharu is an official list for people to register as a resident of an island of their own choosing.
US pledges US$10 million in aid for the Maldives
‘Diamond Pens’: Journalism awards draw criticism
President appoints new police and military chiefs
Raft of bills rushed through to fulfil pledges
Tax authority collects MVR986 million in November
Record rainfall in Maldives capital
Early release of child sex offender sparks outrage
India offers US$1 billion in exchange for military presence
Maldives to restore ties with Qatar and Iran
Former president’s appointees sacked en masse
Politics3 months ago
Maldives presidential election – as it happened
Politics2 months ago
Tensions run high as Supreme Court hears election challenge
Society & Culture3 months ago
Maldives resort cleared of idols, say police
Society & Culture1 month ago
Photos leaked of president’s ‘castle’ on island retreat
Society & Culture1 month ago
Whistleblower declared an apostate arrested on return to Maldives
Politics2 months ago
Majority backs parliament resolution to free Nasheed
Business & Tourism2 months ago
Water villas destroyed in fire
Crime1 month ago
Maldives foreign minister accused of sexual harassment