Voter turnout in Male’ mayoral by-election remains low at 17%

Voters cast their ballot in a polling station in Male' in the Male' City Council by-elections on January 13, 2024. (Photo/Infinite Moments/Moosa Nadheem)

The voter turnout in the Male’ City mayoral race remains low, with only 17 percent of eligible voters having cast their votes so far.

Voters from the Maldivian capital are electing Male’ City’s new mayor, and representatives to three additional seats at the council – the South Maafannu seat, Central Henveiru seat and South Henveiru seat.

Polls opened at 08:00 am and is set to close at 05:00 pm Saturday.

Information released by the Elections Commission (EC) shows that 9,908 voters, making for 17.69 percent of eligible voters, cast their ballots as of 02:00 pm.

This includes 5,665 male voters and 4,243 female voters.

Over 46,000 voters – 82.3 percent of the eligible voters - have yet to cast their ballots.

EC’s vice chairman Ismail Habeeb noted that the low turnout in the election.

He said the EC expects the turnout to increase to 30 percent by the time polls close – spurred by lastminute voters.

Habeeb added that by-elections usually receive a voter turnout of 40 percent.

Five candidates are contesting for Male’ mayor. They are:

  • Shuaib Ali, independent
  • Hussain Waheed, independent
  • Aishath Azima Shakoor, People’s National Congress (PNC)
  • Adam Azim, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)
  • Saif Fathih, the Democrats

Over 54,680 people are eligible vote in the elections.

Voters can check their registered polling center by sending an SMS with their national ID card and the keyword ‘VR’ to 1414.

The position of Male’ City mayor became vacant after President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu resigned to take office as the Maldivian president in November 2023.

Meanwhile, the three other seats at the council were vacated after councilors resigned to assume positions at the new administration. They are; Abdulla Nasir, who represented South Maafannu constituency; Adam Rameez, who represented Central Henveiru constituency; and Fathimath Shamnaz Ali Saleem, who represented South Henveiru constituency.