The Anti-Corruption Commission of the Maldives (ACC) has unveiled a set of guidelines aimed at tackling election-related corruption and promoting transparency in campaign activities.

Drawing on international standards and feedback from previous elections, the ACC’s guidelines have been designed to structure candidate and political party actions in a way that minimises corruption risks. The overarching objective is to uphold integrity, transparency, and prevent any suspicion of corruption throughout every stage of the electoral process.

These guidelines encompass various aspects, including campaign financing and expenditure, the involvement of state employees in campaign efforts, the use of state resources for campaign-related tasks, and the hiring of new personnel for state entities during election periods.

Responding to persistent concerns from citizens about incumbent governments utilising state resources for campaign purposes, the ACC has clearly stated that any campaign activities conducted by sitting governments or candidates associated with the state must be independently funded, without relying on state resources. Candidates are permitted to engage in campaign activities outside official working hours.

The guidelines also discourage irregular employment practices during election periods, underlining that state entities, including state-owned enterprises, should abstain from recruiting new staff unless it is absolutely necessary.

In conjunction with the guidelines, the ACC has launched a dedicated online portal to facilitate the reporting of corruption and bribery incidents linked to the 9 September Presidential Elections.

Complaints aligning with the legal definition of election bribery can be formally submitted via this portal, with the option for individuals to maintain their anonymity. However, those wishing to receive updates about their complaints must provide identification.

The watchdog emphasises the importance of providing comprehensive details when submitting complaints and reiterates that it can only address grievances that fall within its jurisdiction.