PNC President accuses incumbent gov't of election theft amid high voter re-registrations

The Peoples' National Congress (PNC)'s President Abdul Raheem Abdulla has accused the incumbent government of trying to “steal” the presidential election.

Speaking at a campaign event at Haa Dhaalu Kumundhoo today, Abdul Raheem expressed deep concern over the sudden surge of over 25,000 voter re-registration applications submitted for the upcoming second round of the presidential election. He found it suspicious that such a high volume of applications had been received in just two days.

"For the first round, with a seven-day period granted for re-registration, not even 20,000 people re-registered," he said.

Abdul Raheem went on to suggest that some of the submitted forms could be fraudulent, claiming a deliberate effort to submit forms in other individuals' names.

“This is a huge theft through the deliberate submission of forms under false names, and there is extreme concern regarding this, even among the Election Commission,” he said.

Abdul Raheem said he contacted the Elections Commission's President, Fuwad Thawfeek, regarding the matter, who shared similar apprehensions.

According to Abdul Raheem, the rival party was attempting to "steal" the election with the aid of neighboring India.

“They are trying to steal this year's presidential election with the help of India, just like how they did in 2018,” Abdul Raheem said.

A total of 25,493 forms had been submitted for re-registration in the second round of the presidential election, Election Commission Vice-President Ismail Habeeb said earlier today. Habeeb said 9,206 people applied for re-registration on the first day and 16,287 on the second day of the second round of re-registration. According to Habeeb, these include 7,267 re-registrations submitted online on the first day and 11,082 re-registrations submitted online on the second day.

Meanwhile, the PPM-PNC presidential candidate, Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, also expressed his concerns on the matter and called upon all political parties, international monitors, and observers to investigate the matter.

In contrast, the main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)'s Spokesperson, Anas Abdul Sattar, said the party had no concerns over the high number of re-registrations. Taking to Twitter, Anas said no candidate should be concerned that the maximum number of voters were trying to exercise their right to vote.

"This is something we should encourage, something we should be happy about," he wrote in his tweet.

The deadline for re-registration ends at 4 pm today. The second round of the election, contested by Dr. Muizzu and incumbent President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, is slated for September 30.