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Maldives electoral body delays presidential candidate applications

The final candidate list will be announced August 18.

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The start date for presidential candidates to submit their applications has been delayed by more than a week, the head of the Elections Commission said Thursday.

The announcement was made by Ahmed Shareef in a press conference.

“The commission first announced that applications would be open on 15 (July). We had some differences of opinion in the commission but we have now decided that the date for applications is 23 July,” he told reporters.

Shareef said the wait was because the term for President Abdulla Yameen expires on 17 November due to the delays in the 2013 election.

The EC had to consult the Attorney General’s Office about when the presidential term would end after the commission could not reach an agreement.

The law states that applications for candidates must be opened within ten days of the last 120 days of the president’s term. Yameen began his five-year term on 17 November 2013 after the Supreme Court delayed the election.

A revised calendar for this year’s election timeline was shared with journalists.

Candidate applications will open from 23 July to 4 August, while people living outside their home islands can re-register their place of residence from 17 July to 11 August.

The commission will announce the final candidate list on 18 August and official campaigning will begin that day. Campaigning will stop 23 September, which is voting day.

Shareef said the commission was working on making changes to electoral regulations in line with recent legal amendments.

The regulations will be published on Sunday or Monday, he said.

He also addressed concerns about security after an incident involving the joint opposition’s candidate, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, and his campaign team.

Solih was confronted while door to door campaigning in Hulhumalé Tuesday and used diesel was later thrown at members of his campaign team.

“The commission believes in equal opportunity for all presidential hopefuls to campaign even now,” said Shareef. “We have met with police and asked them to ensure safety and security for campaign events of those who have announced their intention to run for president.”

An official complaints bureau is now open at the EC and complaints can be filed through a form.

Shareef said a a phone call would not be accepted as an official complaint, as identification could not be verified.

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