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Govt, opposition at loggerheads over alleged tampering of parliament e-voting system

Fathmath Shaahunaz
27 March 2017, MVT 12:49
Lawmakers pictured outside the parliament ahead of a debate. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
27 March 2017, MVT 12:49

Tensions peaked between government and opposition lawmakers over alleged problems with the parliament’s electronic voting systems during Monday’s debate on the motion of no confidence against parliamentary speaker Abdulla Maseeh.

Main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s parliamentary group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih claimed that his voting machine was broken down when he entered the parliament floor. He said they have brought the problem to the attention of authorities but are yet to receive a solution.

“We don’t have any guarantees that there aren’t problems with the voting systems of our other members,” he said.

On the other hand, ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nihan accused the opposition of tampering with the electronic voting systems.

Lawmakers pictured outside the parliament ahead of a debate. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

“The opposition coalition are hopeless now that their plot to hack the electronic voting system failed.”

Jumhoory Party’s leader Qasim Ibrahim also admitted Monday that he had heard talk of glitches in the voting systems. Some members of the opposition are accusing the government of tampering with the voting machines, pointing out that the parliament building is under state care.

Thimarafushi MP Mohamed Musthafa declared the situation as depriving the lawmakers of an independent vote.

Following the problems with the voting system, MP Nihan suggested a roll call vote instead. However, opposition lawmakers objected to the suggestion, declaring that it violates parliamentary regulations.

MP Ibrahim Solih and JP leader Qasim both stressed that roll call votes are approved only should there be proven problems with the electronic voting machines. MP Solih stated that a roll call must be proposed and passed by the parliament while Qasim requested the parliament to look into the voting systems for problems.

The lawmakers will cast their votes on the motion of no confidence at 1:30 p.m. Monday afternoon.

The no confidence vote against Speaker Maseeh is the biggest challenge yet in the administration of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. While the government coalition has vowed to easily fail the vote, opposition lawmakers proclaim to have confirmed that enough votes will be cast in favour of the motion of no confidence. The opposition requires votes from a number of government aligned lawmakers to remove Maseeh from position.

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