9 June 2018, Male’: Following the Elections Commission’s announcement on 7 June of important dates and details pertaining to the upcoming Presidential elections, MDP expresses concern over the politically biased actions of the Commission such as attempting to interfere in the party’s internal matters as its primaries, and haphazard spontaneous decisions. MDP notes that the Election Commission, headed by one of President Yameen’s staunchest allies and loyalists, lacks the trust of political parties as well as public confidence, and the Commission’s credibility is highly questionable. The Elections Commission had recently attempted to obstruct the party’s primaries and threatened to dissolve the party, drawing immense criticism from opposition parties as well as the general public.
MDP notes that the Elections Commission had waited until the last possible moment to invite international observers in an attempt to discourage international observers. MDP also notes that while the Elections Commission had announced there was ample opportunity for local organizations and media to observe the election, the stringent conditions and stipulations of the Commission will result in fewer organizations as well as media establishments being able to register a significant number of their observers.
MDP calls on the Elections Commission to refrain from such farcical displays of transparency and to ensure the Commission’s credibility and independence from political bias. MDP further notes the Commission’s responsibility to ensure a level playing field for all is especially significant at a time when the government has threatened media establishments regarding broadcasting material of and regarding opposition candidates, which the party believes is tantamount to an alarming level of state intimidation and interference ahead of the presidential elections. MDP urges the Commission to do its utmost to ensure free, fair and inclusive elections and to restore flailing public confidence in the Commission as well as democratic processes.