The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has set up a complaints committee for the presidential election on 7 September 2013. The committee has agents at every ballot box and a central hotline for people to lodge complaints regarding the election and the campaign.
In the last twelve days (22 Aug – 3 Sept), the committee has lodged 14 complaints with the Elections Commission’s Complaints Bureau. The complaints include:
– Obstruction of campaign activities and events
– Threats to campaign managers and other leading campaign activists
– The police commissioner and election commission employees participation in the campaigns of non-MDP candidates
– Bribery by non-MDP candidates
– Use of defamatory material by non-MDP candidates, and use of the expression ‘ladheenee’ (‘irreligious’) at the MDP presidential candidate. The use of this term of abuse is specifically prohibited by the Presidential Election Regulations 2013.
– Accusation of the MDP presidential candidate being involved in serious crimes.
Such campaign activities by the non-MDP parties are clearly prohibited by the Presidential Election Regulations 2013 and other presidential election related laws.
The Complaints Bureau has responded to two of the complaints so far.
One response has been to a complaint regarding the placing of the ballot box for Naifaru island, LH atoll in a building rented by the Police Service. This is contrary to section 36(a) of the Elections Act. The Election Commission says that they are in the process of finding an alternative suitable place for the ballot box.
The other response was regarding the First Lady Ilham Hussain’s donation of Rf100,000 to the school at Mulak island in Meemu atoll. The Elections Commission said that it suspects the donation contravenes section 28(a)(5) and (14) of the Presidential Election Regulations 2013, and the Commission has submitted the matter to the Anti-Corruption Commission.
The MDP hopes that the Elections Commission’s Complaints Bureau will take appropriate measures on the remaining complaints in a near future.