EC cracks down on politically biased election officials

Elections Commission has launched a crackdown on some of its officials designated for the upcoming presidential elections amid mounting complaints over several officials being pictured campaigning for incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

Several elections officials were pictured at the mass rally held by the ruling party in the capital Male on Tuesday evening. In recent weeks, some officials and focal points appointed by the commission to polling stations in the Atolls had also been pictured at various ruling party campaign events.

Commission spokesperson and member Ahmed Akram told AVAS on Wednesday said the commission had now begun verifying the photographs it had received of the officials campaigning for president Yameen.

"In a couple of cases we have already taken strict cases. We've dismissed an election official and a focal point. We will continue to look into these complaints and take action against such officials if found guilty," Akram assured.

Elections Commission has come under heavy opposition criticism over alleged moves to undermine free and fair elections in the Maldives.

The opposition had been incensed over the use of tablets at polling stations by the commission which it said was another planned move to rig the elections.

The elections widely seen as a referendum more than an elections, would be a two horse race between incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom who is seeking re-election and opposition alliance candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih who has been backed by Yameen's main political rivals including the now jailed former presidents Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and Mohamed Nasheed.