Five presidential candidates to be penalized as financial statements do not meet requirements

Candidates of the Presidential Election at the Presidential Debate hosted by SanguTV and Maldives National University.

Elections Commission (EC) has decided to take action against the five candidates who contested September’s presidential election as the financial statement submitted by the candidate do not meet the legal requirements.

The decision which EC had come to during a meeting on Monday was announced the commission’s vice president Ismail Habeeb via post on X.

Habeeb’s post on X detailed that only the financial statements of three candidates fit the legal requirements, adding further details regarding the matter will be disclosed at a later time.

While EC has decided to penalize the remaining five candidates and their election agents in accordance with the law – they did not disclose the identity of the candidates in question.

The eight candidates who contested September 9th’s presidential elections are;

  • Former president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (Maldives Democratic Party)
  • President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu (People’s National Congress)
  • Ilyas Labeeb (Democrats)
  • Qasim Ibrahim (Jumhoory Party)
  • Hassan Zameel (Independent)
  • Faris Maumoon (Independent)
  • Mohamed Nazim (Maldives National Party)
  • Umar Naseer (Independent)

The election moved to a runoff between then-president Solih and current President Muizzu after neither of the candidates managed to secure 50 percent of the votes required to win the election outright.

The runoff was won by President Muizzu with 54 percent of the votes while then-president Solih won 46 of the votes.

The deadline to submit the financial statements by the presidential candidates was November 30th.

Presidential candidates are required to disclose details of their election-related expenses, how they got the funding, and their bank account statements. They are also required to disclose information of individual donors, the exact donations, and receipts to prove the authenticity of the information.

Back in 2018, the EC said that the financial statements submitted by the two candidates who ran in the election that year – President Solih and then-President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom – had both spent around equally on their presidential campaigns.

The Elections Act prescribes the imposition of fines as the first course of action if candidates fail to submit their financial statements in accordance with the law.