After delays of several months, the finance ministry assured political parties on Sunday that it has released state funds for 2017.
Spokesman Ahmed Aiman told the Maldives Independent that the ministry has released the funds to the Elections Commission for disbursement. “It is up to the Elections Commission to make sure parties have received the funds,” he said.
But Ahmed Abdulla, the newly elected deputy chairman for finance of the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, said the party has yet to receive the funds.
“We are waiting for our [bank] statements to confirm if we have received it,” he said.
Earlier this month, the MDP sued the Elections Commission over the delays. The lack of funds was hampering plans to hold the party’s congress, it said.
The Political Parties Act mandates the issue of state funds to parties with members over 10,000 within the first three months of the year. The law requires 0.1 – 0.2 percent of the annual budget to be allocated to political parties.
Of the MVR23 million (US$1.5 million) released to the EC, MVR10 million is for the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives, which now has the highest number of members. The MDP will receive MVR7.4 million and the opposition Jumhooree Party and the government coalition Maldives Development Alliance will each get MVR2.5 million.
The EC also faced harsh criticism from political parties after the release of the funds were delayed last year.