A recount of votes from a ballot box on the island of Kuribee in Haa Dhaal atoll has changed the result and averted a second round of voting between three candidates tied in third place.
The recount took place Sunday night after a candidate from the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Elections Commission about a valid vote that was unfairly invalidated.
Mohamed Shafy won the third seat on the Kuribee island council after the vote was reportedly counted in his column. Before the recount, the EC was planning to have a second round of voting in Kuribee between the three candidates tied with 218 votes.
But provisional results now show that Shafy has been elected to the three-member council with 219 votes along two candidates from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives.
According to the EC, a second round of voting will only be needed on the island of Komandoo in Shaviyani atoll after two MDP candidates were tied in third place with 518 votes.
The EC completed announcing provisional results on Sunday, drawing criticism for the slow roll-out after the polls took place on May 6.
The Local Council Elections Act mandates the commission to announce official results within 14 days but does not specify a timeframe for announcing provisional results.
On Saturday, MDP deputy chairperson Ali Niyaz said at a joint opposition rally that political parties have had to force the EC to publicise the results.
“They have not verified any results sheet yet. Everything is in the process of being checked. Whatever they do, however they count the results or however long they take to do it, it will not change the results we have,” he said.
The results of the Maldives’ third municipal elections show a landslide win for the MDP, which swept the Malé, Addu and Fuvahmulah city councils and other populous islands.
On Thursday, the EC also opened the security envelopes for 26 ballot boxes following complaints about irregularities in the result sheets such as mismatches in the number of invalid votes and total votes.
The envelopes were opened at the commission’s election headquarters at the old Jamalludheen school in Malé in the presence of candidate representatives, observers, and monitors.
The Kuribee recount also took place in front of the media and candidate representatives.
According to the commission, the complaints bureau has looked into 74 cases submitted during and after the polls. None of the complaints were serious enough to affect the outcome of any council races, EC member Ahmed Akram told the media.