State funds approved for political parties
The MDP is now the largest party with more than 50,000 members.
The Elections Commission has approved annual state funding for political parties with the bulk of the money allocated to the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party and opposition Progressive Party of Maldives.
The MDP will receive MVR12 million (US$778,210) and the PPM will receive MVR9 million, EC member Ahmed Akram told the Maldives Independent. The Jumhooree Party and Maldives Democratic Alliance will each receive MVR2 million.
The EC has decided to ask the finance ministry to release the funds, Akram said on Tuesday.
The funding is allocated based on membership. Only parties with more than 10,000 members are eligible, according to the political party law.
The MDP is presently the largest party with 54,302 members, EC chief Ahmed Shareef announced Monday night at a forum .
The PPM comes second with 38,020 members. The JP is third with 9,335 members while MDA currently has 8,712 members.
The JP and MDA were deemed eligible as both parties had more than 10,000 members when the 2019 budget was passed on November 28.
The funds for PPM were initially held up after financial misconduct was flagged in the party’s annual audit report.
The EC and PPM representatives met on Tuesday and came to an agreement to release the funds on the condition that the party resolves the audit report’s problems, Akram said.
The main opposition party has been fined MVR20,000 with a separate fine of MVR5,000 for the party’s financial officer for “conducting financial dealings contrary to the Political Parties Act,” according to the commission.
Akram declined to disclose details about the PPM’s alleged violations.
The Adhaalath Party and Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party have also been fined MVR50,000 each for failing to submit the annual audit reports before the legally mandated deadline.