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Elections Commission set to announce results

MDP has taken a two-third majority of the 19th parliament.



The Elections Commission is due to start announcing provisional results of the parliamentary elections on Sunday night.

The electoral body was planning to start announcing results ahead of schedule Sunday morning, EC member Ahmed Akram told the Maldives Independent, but “it isn’t late yet.”

Provisional results show a landslide victory for the Maldivian Democratic Party with more than a two-thirds majority of the 87-member house. Other parties trail far behind with fewer than seven seats each.

Akram said a total of 126 complaints were submitted to the national complaints bureau over Saturday’s poll. The commission has attended to 74 complaints and was looking into 54 complaints.

Most of the complaints concerned re-registration. There were two complaints about ballot papers and four complaints about alleged undue influences over the right to vote, according to Akram.

None of the complaints would affect the outcome in any of the contests, he stressed.

Some 212,079 out of 264,442 eligible voters turned out on Saturday, representing a record 80 percent turnout after voting time was extended by two hours due to hot temperatures in the afternoon.

The turnout was up from 78 percent in the last two general elections in 2009 and 2014 but well below the 90 percent in September’s presidential election.

EC chief Ahmed Shareef previously said the commission hopes to announce official results by April 12. The electoral law requires official results to be announced within a week of the polls.

The MPs-elect will be sworn into office on May 28.

Voting proceeded peacefully and “election day processes were transparent and generally well-administered,” Transparency Maldives said Sunday based on its observation of the polls.

According to key findings, 97 percent of polling stations closed within the first hour of closing time and there were “very few cases where people were not able to vote because their names were not on the voter registry or their details did not match.”

The NGO noted that voting had been temporarily halted in six percent of polling stations, with 85 percent of cases representing interventions of the presiding official in charge and eight percent interventions by an unruly voter.

“72% polling stations reported disputes relating to the validity of ballot papers while 0.3% of ballot papers were disputed by candidate or party observer during the counting process,” it added.

Observers also found ballot papers with marks other than the tick in 88 percent of polling stations. The electoral law was amended ahead of the April 6 polls to invalidate ballots with drawings or symbols.

Despite the positive assessment, the local chapter of Transparency International recommended “immediate measures to address wider issues, including vote buying, lack of transparency in political finance, abuse of state resources, barriers for women’s equal participation in the electoral processes, and bring long overdue reforms to the electoral legal framework.”

After celebrating the MDP’s historic win with supporters in Malé, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih put out a statement Sunday morning congratulating the Maldivian people for the peaceful and smooth conduct of the polls.

“That our campaign was issue-oriented and not based on hatred and narrow divisions is a win for our young democracy. That our government did not hinder those candidates with whom we did not agree is a big win for the country,” he said.

“Many of our coalition partners in the government were contenders in this election- some were our opponents. I assure the people, as I’ve done time and again, the coalition remains intact. I haven’t forgotten the hard work by our coalition partners to bring the country back from the brink of President Yameen’s disastrous rule. I will continue to work with the leaders of all our coalition partners to ensure we deliver on our pledges to the people.”