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Ibu goes door-to-door in Malé

The MDP maintains its stance that the Elections Commission must be reconstituted.



Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the opposition coalition’s presidential candidate, launched Saturday morning a door-to-door campaign in the capital.

Prior to beginning active campaigning, Ibu met with the party’s campaign agents and volunteers from across the country over the past week.

“What we should do is work with courage over the next two or three months,” he said at a brief ceremony at the opposition meeting hall before heading out.

The veteran lawmaker was awarded the Maldivian Democratic Party ticket last week, becoming its “alternative” candidate after former president Mohamed Nasheed dropped out. The government welcomed the decision and renewed invitations for all-party talks.

Accompanied by MDP MPs and campaign workers, Ibu visited several homes in the Henveiru ward of Malé. The goal is to cover all households in the densely-packed city, according to the party.

Despite launching its campaign in earnest, the MDP maintains its stance that the Elections Commission, led by a loyalist of President Abdulla Yameen, must be reconstituted before the September 23 poll date.

Citing unresolved complaints about the voter list, the party continued to boycott the EC’s advisory committee meetings last week.

The voter list was republished on July 1 with changes made in light of numerous complaints concerning deceased and underage voters as well as mismatches in address and names.

Ali Niyaz, the MDP’s representative on the advisory committee, told the press that the EC has failed to address its main concern over the lack of national identity card number, which makes it difficult to cross-check individual names and address.

But the verification work is ongoing, he said.

As an example of unresolved issues, Niyaz noted that the late Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari’s name was still on the list.

“More unusually, Dr Majeed was registered this time in the Gaaf Alif Kolamaafushi voter list,” he said, adding that further errors were likely.

But the EC has ignored repeated pleas to ensure that the list could be verified, he said. “So what counsel shall we go and give at the election advisory committee?” he asked.

The MDP said in a statement Thursday that the present five-member commission does not have the “intention or the capacity to hold a transparent, free and fair election without the influence of the administration.”

The party also raised concerns over the housing ministry’s reopening of a registration scheme for islanders living in the capital.

Deputy mayor Shamau Shareef warned last week that the move “opened doors to mess with the voter list.”

But the housing minister has since assured that the registry would only be updated after the election despite accepting new applications. 

The EC’s announcement last Wednesday that it will not include photos of voters in the final list also prompted concern about the fairness of the polls.

Commission member Ahmed Akram claimed the decision was made in light of complaints from women who wear the Islamic face veil.

Some 263,181 Maldivians will be eligible to vote in September.