The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) of Maldives has initiated investigations into 14 of the 16 complaints it received regarding alleged malpractices associated with the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for 21 April. These complaints include the alleged use of state resources for campaigning, bribery, and violations of candidates’ rights, according to ACC media official Hassan Manik.

As the country braces for the elections, concerns over electoral integrity are escalating. Complaints against the governing People’s National Congress (PNC) have been particularly notable, with accusations that they used state resources to bolster their campaign efforts. There are also claims of actions potentially infringing upon the electoral rights of opposition candidates.

The Elections Commission (EC) has taken these allegations seriously and is conducting its own investigations. In response to the reported violations, the EC has issued warnings of legal action against those found guilty of engaging in anti-campaign activities, which include spreading false information and undermining the electoral rights of other candidates. “The posters and banners used to gain support are circulating messages that infringe on a candidate’s electoral rights,” said a statement from the EC, which stressed adherence to the General Rules of Elections’ Code of Conduct.

In a counter-move, the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has been accused by the PNC of engaging in anti-campaigning tactics. The cross-party accusations highlight the tense political atmosphere ahead of next week’s parliamentary elections, with a total of 368 candidates—including 22 women and 216 men representing seven political parties, alongside 130 independent candidates—vying for positions across 93 constituencies.

The ACC and EC’s proactive stance in addressing these complaints is crucial for maintaining public trust in the electoral process. With a history of vote buying and misuse of state resources as outlined by Transparency Maldives in their pre-election assessment, these measures are seen as essential to ensure free and fair elections.