Election Official Dismissed in Laamu Atoll Amid Generally Well-Organised Runoff
An election official at the Number-3 ballot box in Fonadhoo of Laamu Atoll was dismissed for distributing scribbled ballot papers. While this incident raises concerns, Transparency Maldives, an observer agency, has commended the overall organisation of the election, noting improvements compared to the first round.
The dismissal followed a complaint from a voter who received two ballot papers, each of which contained additional markings. According to Elections Commission (EC) regulations, ballots with any extra markings are null and void.
Elections Commission vice chief Ismail Habeeb told local media that voting at the concerned polling station was temporarily halted. “Once [the official] was removed from their roles, no other matters need to be addressed,” said Habeeb. Voting resumed with a new ballot box to maintain transparency.
Transparency Maldives released a statement indicating that the preparations for the runoff election were generally well-executed. The agency reported that 94 of the polling stations opened within 10 minutes after the scheduled start time of 08:00 a.m., while 54% of stations were operational between 08:00 a.m. and 08:30 a.m.
The organisation’s observers found that measures were in place to ensure a secret ballot at 96% of polling stations. At the remaining 4%, however, the assurance for a secret ballot was somewhat ambiguous. Transparency Maldives has dispatched a total of 490 observers and 297 volunteers across various polling stations.
The election sees President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih competing for re-election against opposition PPM-PNC candidate Dr. Mohamed Muizzu. Both have urged Maldivians to vote, underscoring it as a civic duty.
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