As voters in the Maldives head to the polls for the second round of the presidential elections, attention has been drawn to the preliminary observations and critiques from three leading observer groups. Their initial feedback on the first round of voting, held on 9 September 2023, will likely influence the conduct and oversight of today’s runoff.

Observations from the European Union

In a statement released following the first round, Nacho Sánchez Amor, Chief Observer from the European Union, commended the Elections Commission of Maldives (EC) for its impartial and professional conduct. However, he noted certain imbalances, such as allegations regarding the use of state resources in the pre-election period. He also called for greater regulation and transparency in campaign financing, while urging for enhanced representation of women in Maldivian politics.

Views of the Commonwealth Observer Group

The Commonwealth Observer Group, led by former Seychellois President H.E. Danny Faure, applauded the Maldivian electorate and the ECM for their role in the peaceful first round. Yet, they too raised several concerns. Issues such as vote-buying, misuse of state resources, and the need for improved civic education were identified as areas needing attention.

Feedback from Transparency Maldives

Transparency Maldives, utilising an expansive network of more than 400 volunteers and observers, provided some of the most granular data on the first-round election proceedings. The organisation highlighted issues such as temporary halts in voting at 8% of polling stations and mentioned a few isolated instances of violence. However, they confirmed the overall peaceful nature of the election.