The opposition parties on Wednesday said that they would not boycott the elections although they believe that Elections Commissions, the way it is functioning currently, is incapable of holding a fair and independent election.
The opposition parties said this while speaking at a press conference held at Salt Café after a meeting with EC’s President Ahmed Shareef regarding the decrease of ballot boxes kept in resorts for the upcoming election.
With EC’s decision to decrease the ballot boxes in resorts and to allow only an EC official to be present while people with special needs vote, Jumhooree Party (JP)’s deputy leader Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan said that although EC’s decisions are worrying and the opposition is expressing concern regarding it, they would not boycott the election. Rather, they would work hard to resolve all the issues that are currently present, he said.
Dr. Hussain said although President Abdulla Yameen wants the opposition to boycott the election, the opposition is always ready with alternate plans for every dilemma and will win the election with the vast majority.
Noting that some serious issues regarding the election have been submitted to EC on Wednesday, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s Deupty Chairperson Ali Niyaz said every person with special needs should be given the chance to choose who will aid them with the voting. The only reason EC took away this right is to manipulate the vote. And the only way we can believe that the election will be fair, is by changing the commission itself, Niyaz said.
Mohamed Faisal, who spoke at the press conference on behalf of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, stated that 3 percent of the population eligible to vote had registered to vote at the resorts in 2013. Therefore, the decision not to put ballot boxes in more resorts will violate the rights of many, while the number is significant enough to make a difference in the results.
The opposition and those working for the voting rights of resort staff says that 10,000 individuals might be unable to vote if EC continues with their decision to place only seven ballot boxes in the resorts.
In previous elections, a ballot box is placed in each resort having more than 100 registered eligible voters. However, EC had decided not to put a ballot box in the resort unless there are 250 registered eligible voters in that resort.
Previously, the tick was marked on the vote paper by a person chosen by the person with special needs. However, this time EC had decided to only allow one of their officials to put the tick on behalf of the person with special needs.
Resort staff and individuals with special needs have been expressing worry over EC’s decisions of late. But EC says they would never act in a way that could take away the voting right of any person.