Surveys show increase in vote selling for April polls

Transparency Maldives has revealed selling of votes have increased in the run up to the parliamentary elections, compared to the presidential election held in September last year.

Speaking to media about elections observation, Advocacy and Communication Manager Aiman Rasheed stated surveys, conducted to oversee how funds are used by candidates during campaign, showed 37 percent of individuals are actively participating in selling and buying votes.

However, Aiman with regret revealed no efforts were taken to put a stop to such actions by the respective authorities. Moreover, Aiman revealed Transparency Maldives have submitted a proposal highlighting three points to put a stop to the sale of votes.

Highlighting the public's trust towards the integrity of the Elections Commission of Maldives (ECM), Aiman said people who previously trusted the electoral body have changed their opinion, whilst people who doubted the commission before trust the institution now. Transparency Maldives noted efforts of the electoral body are different when compared with the past, adding more findings have been revealed now.

Furthermore, the non-governmental organisation said it is dismayed the Elections General Act was amended so close to the elections, noting it may lead to a lot of invalid votes. The Elections General Act has been amended to make all the ballot papers bearing other markings except a tick as an invalid vote. ECM has also expressed concern regarding the latest amendment.