President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Wednesday reappointed Ismail Habeeb as a member of the Elections Commission for a new term.
Parliament unanimously approved Habeeb to the five-member commission on March 6.
He was among 16 nominees forwarded for parliamentary approval by President Solih last month after interested candidates were invited to apply. The parliamentary committee that evaluated the nominees awarded Habeeb the highest marks and recommended his reappointment.
His previous five-year term was due to expire on Wednesday.
After the president presented his letter of appointment, the oath of office was administered by Supreme Court Justice Abdul Ghanee Mohamed.
Prior to his appointment in March 2014, Habeeb had served as the EC’s executive director and director general. He was sacked in January 2013 but the Labour Tribunal ordered his reinstatement in August 2013, by which time he had been appointed to the civil court as its senior administrator.
The reappointment comes ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled to take place on April 6.
Earlier this week, President Solih ratified amendments to the electoral law to invalidate ballots that have symbols or drawings other than the check mark next to the candidate’s name.
Tagged ballots with marks or scribbles were counted as valid in September’s presidential election.
According to Transparency Maldives, markings on ballots are “the main method of ensuring voters who were coerced or influenced through vote buying vote as pressured.”
The NGOs research showed 37 percent of voters participate in vote buying, nearly a third of whom use markings on the ballots. The tagged ballots allow observers and candidate representatives to identify votes during the counting process.
Additional markings were found in ballots at over 70 percent of polling stations in the 2018 presidential election, observers found.