Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was Saturday confirmed as the official winner of the Maldives presidential poll, with around 58 percent of the total votes cast, as the election body said its members had received death threats.
Solih beat the incumbent, Abdulla Yameen, by more than 38,000 votes. Yameen received 96,052 votes compared to Solih’s 134,705.
The head of the Elections Commission told media there had been no undue influence and no bribes. Bribes would have been rejected had they been offered.
Ahmed Shareef also said people would be charged for spreading gossip about EC members. The EC has insisted that nothing could affect the poll outcome.
“We received several phone calls in which we [the commissioners] were threatened with physical harm. I would like to say that this is not something that made us hesitate in our duties. We did not respond to it because the state’s security services were providing security arrangements for all the commissioners,” Shareef said at the news conference.
He was asked to respond to the ruling party’s assertion that electoral standards were changed through “planned and systematic attempts.”
“It has not come to our attention that there is any complaint like that among the complaints we received,” he told journalists. “What you are saying is, complaints that the commission gave instructions to systematically change electoral standards or that any other group or individual did such a thing. We have not received any information like that and no such complaint has been filed.”
The EC said a total of 423 complaints had been received by Thursday. Of these, 229 had been answered and 194 were outstanding.
“The complaints bureau is investigating the complaints we have received and has decided that none of the complaints we have received so far will have an impact or change the final results of the election,” Shareef added.
The ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives said there were issues that worried people or raised questions about the election, the EC chief said, and that the party had asked for time to gather these complaints.
“We discussed this among us, and there is a 14 day period to submit complaints after the official results are announced,” Shareef said.
The law says that the president-elect can ask the Civil Service Commission to appoint a director-general of transition to facilitate the transfer of power.
He or she is required to provide funding or services that Solih and his running mate require Faisal Naseem – such as office space and personnel – and that a maximum of MVR1 million (around US$65,000) can be spent on the transition process until the transfer of power on November 17.
The law also says that Solih and Faisal should be given the same level of security as Yameen and his deputy Abdulla Jihad.
Breakdown of complaints filed between 23 and 27 September:
12 regarding re-registration
Seven regarding influencing election
Two regarding voter lists
41 regarding voting booth locations
38 for taking phone and handbag into polling station
23 for using another list
28 regarding UV light
Three for extra ballots in boxes
One regarding invalid votes
Six regarding campaign
42 regarding polling arrangements
11 regarding vote counting
Three regarding ballot paper
11 regarding observers and monitors
Five regarding election officials
One regarding selling ID cards
One for voting without name being on the list
Three regarding bribing