31 July 2018. MALÉ: A recent video – in which First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim briefs President Yameen about how voter registration forms are diverted to the ruling party instead of the Elections Commission – confirms that the regime is stealing the 2018 presidential election before voters have even gone to the polls.
In the video, uploaded onto the ruling PPM’s social media account earlier this week, the First Lady tells President Yameen that voter registration forms from civil servants and state-owned company staff are sent to the ruling party. “[Forms from] civil service and companies will come tonight…They will be registered,” she is heard saying in the video. “It is now being entered.” The PPM later removed the video, but it had already been shared on social media.
The Joint Opposition believes that the Elections Commission, working hand-in-glove with the ruling party, is using voter re-registration as a key way to influence the outcome of the election.
The Government has ordered all civil servants and employees of government-owned companies, to hand over their registration forms to their place of work; to a politically appointed superior.
Instead of sending the re-registration forms to the Elections Commission, the party activist diverts them to the PPM campaign headquarters.
Employees have complained that anyone suspected of having sympathies for the opposition may find that their re-registration form is lost along the way, leaving them unable to vote. State employees have also been reporting that the human resource heads have been marking people who are not loyal enough to President Yameen. When the forms are sent for entering and evaluating by the President’s own campaign, the employees are even more vulnerable to Government intimidation. Employees were at no point informed their registration forms would be going to the PPM campaign offices.
Furthermore, the re-registration forms contain personal details such as the voter’s names, address, and mobile phone number. The PPM is able to enter all these details on their databases — as Madam Fathmath refers to in the video — giving them a big tactical advantage when it comes to voter targeting.
Some 66,000 people work for the government or in government owned companies. President Yameen won the 2013 presidential election with a margin of just 5,000 votes.
This latest scandal follows a pattern of bias and politicalisation at the EC, which is headed by the former Secretary-General of Yameen’s political party, and is stacked full of Yameen cronies.
The Elections Commission has remained silent over this brazen transgression, and its conduct since calling for elections demonstrates that the Commissioners are brazenly colluding with the ruling party to systematically steal the election.
The Joint Opposition reiterates its call to reconstitute the Elections Commission, and instead form a Commission acceptable to all parties.
In July, the European Union warns of sanctions against Maldives human rights violators. The Elections Commission Chief, Ahmed Shareef is complicit in this clear abuse of a fundamental right.