EC won't allow foreign influence in pres polls

Maldives' electoral watchdog will not allow any foreign influence to undermine a free and fair presidential elections in the country, member Ahmed Akram vowed Sunday.

Speaking during a program on government aligned television station 'Channel 13', Elections Commission member Akram insisted that the commission was perfectly capable of holding a free and fair elections in September.

He also hit-back at the United States (US) and India over concerns of a free and fair elections in the Maldives, by urging Maldives' international partners against undermining the integrity of the elections commission ahead of the crunch elections.

"Elections commission is perfectly capable of holding a presidential election or any other election. The commission does not need to ask any country for help because of its inability to hold an election. We don't need the help of any country to hold our elections. So we won't allow any country to influence or meddle with our elections," Akram warned.

Akram also noted that public cooperation for the voters list has improved saying that over 17,000 had checked the list through various mediums by Thursday.

He added that the primary complaint over the preliminary list had been over the inclusion of names of some of the deceased people which he vowed to correct.

Key dates for presidential polls

  • June 10: Publicize voters list
  • July 10: Close voters list for complaints
  • July 15-24: Open the elections for interested candidates
  • July 17: Open for re-registration
  • August 9: Decide candidate number
  • September 23: Voting day

The commission meanwhile had announced that the crunch elections would be held on September 23 while it would open the elections for interested candidates from July 15.

Incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom is seeking re-election amid unprecedented political strife in the archipelago.

Former home minister Umar Naseer has also announced his intention to stand for the elections and already launched his campaign as an independent candidate.

The main opposition leaders including former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed along with Jumhoory Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim and religiously conservative Adhaalath Party (AP) leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla inked pact to form what they called a 'reform alliance'.

With the candidacy of the four leaders - all convicted and serving sentences on questionable charges in serious doubt, the united opposition had announced plans to nominate a single candidate for the upcoming presidential elections.

However, the coalition now seems to have fractured with Nasheed contesting and winning the highly disputed presidential primary held by his party last week.

Elections Commission had said it would not accept the result insisting that Nasheed remains a convicted criminal who is constitutionally ineligible to contest.

Nasheed however, remains hopeful that the government would yield to international pressure and allow him to stand for the elections which now appears to have created massive divisions within his own party.

The commission itself has been dogged by both local and international censure as it fends off allegations of bias against the opposition.