'EC does not have the resources to verify party membership forms'

President of Elections Commission (EC) Ahmed Shareef has stated that the commission is incapable of addressing the issue of people being registered to political parties without their consent, and that the commission does not have the resources needed to verify party memberships.

Shareef was summoned for questioning by the parliament's Institution Committee on Tuesday, where he said the commission has received complaints that newly established political parties submitted membership forms that were not authorized by the applicants in order to meet the membership requirement.

Shareef said the commission does not have access to a fingerprint scan system that can verify the membership forms, noting that the commission unsuccessfully tried on multiple occasions to receive funding to procure such a machine.

"Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to establish a fingerprint verification system at the commission. There is no difference between submitting and not submitting a fingerprint. We seek police assistance when needed", said Shareef.

Shareef further said although verifying political party memberships lies within the commission's mandate, the commission is considering transferring the responsibility to an institution that has the necessary resources to verify the data.

"We are considering removing the maintenance of party memberships from EC's mandate. We are also seeking to change the policy under which funds are provided for political parties", said Shareef.