Transparency Maldives (TM) has said that current environment in the country is ‘not conducive’ for a free and fair presidential elections, and that both the local and international community will not accept an election held in the current environment.
Members of TM held a press conference on Sunday, after releasing its pre-election survey.
The organization said that three things were highlighted through their survey;
- the current environment is not conducive for a free and fair election as there is no guarantee that opposition politicians will be able to contest and the fact that opposition is not being granted equal opportunities to campaign for the elections as the ruling party.
- Misuse of state funds and resources
- Lack of trust in the Elections Commission
Speaking at the press conference, TM’s Communications and Advocacy Manager Aiman Rasheed said that holding an election in the current environment would lead to doubts over the whole process, adding that he does not believe that such an election will be accepted by the public.
“There is room to raise questions over an election that is held in the current environment. This will raise questions regarding the independence of the election, as well as its credibility. This could also lead to the public not accepting the election results,” said Aiman.
Following the survey, Transparency Maldives submitted a list of things to be improved prior to the elections, including ensuring a conducive environment of the elections by giving all parties equal opportunities to campaign and to hold retrials in the cases of the opposition leaders jailed in questionable circumstances.
Further noting that they were not able to meet with members with Elections Commission, TM said that the Commission had chosen to answer their questions ‘via writing’, but that they were not allowed to inquire further on any matter. TM added that ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and its coalition partner Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) had refused to meet with them.
TM’s Senior Project Coordinator, Ahmed Tholal said that the parties’ refusal to meet ‘shows how bad the current political environment is’.