Foreign observers praise arrangements made for the presidential election

Foreign observers hold press conference regarding Saturday's presidential election on September 11, 2023. (Photo/Mohamed Shaathiu Abdulla)

Foreign observers have praised the arrangements made for the presidential election which took place on Saturday.

Foreign observers who came to Maldives to observe the presidential elections held a press conference at Dharubaaruge late Monday afternoon where they praised the Elections Commission (EC), taking note of the comprehensive arrangements that had been made for the presidential elections.

Dhayanithie Pillay, a South African judge who observed the election, said voters spend a maximum of two to three minutes to cast their vote. Describing all arrangements made for voting as complete, Pillay said voting proceeded peacefully and smoothly, till the closure of the queue.

Pillay also highlighted the priority allocated for people with special needs during this year’s election – leading to a greater voter turnout from such individuals.  

“Ballot counting after the closure of ballot boxes also proceeded at a speedy pace. Observers posted near ballot boxes were happy with how it proceeded. In addition to this, arrangements were made at polling stations to accommodate the large number of people without the issue of constraints of space arising,” she said.

Pillay, noting no election will be without fault, stressed there will always be room for improvement. She detailed some of the improvements that can be made in this regard.

“The number of officials utilized to count ballot papers can be increased compared to the present. This will increase the speed of ballot counting, compared to the present,” she detailed.

Foreign observers hold press conference regarding Saturday's presidential election on September 11, 2023. (Photo/Mohamed Shaathiu Abdulla)

Aimee, an observer from the Philippines’ Elections Commission, highlighted one of the most notable factors in this presidential election as the usage of the candidates’ photos next to their candidate numbers – which she said greatly aided in expediting the process of casting their vote for elderly persons.

“I praise the arrangements made by the Maldivian Elections Commission to ensure a smooth and peaceful election,” she added.

The foreign observers, in addition to praising EC, also highlighted the cooperation rendered by political parties and politicians to ensure a peaceful election.

Impending is the runoff, on September 30th. As per the Maldivian constitution, a candidate must secure over 50 percent of votes from eligible voters to win the election.

EC’s preliminary results publicized on Sunday show opposition PPM-PNC coalition’s candidate Dr. Mohamed Muizzu led the polls during the first round with 46 percent votes. His closest competitor, MDP’s Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the incumbent president, secured 39 percent votes.

All the other candidates lag way behind. Therefore, the runoff will be between the two aforesaid candidates.