The Elections Commission (EC) has begun preparations for the Presidential Elections 2018, which is to be held in early September.
Mihaaru understands that after considering the dates stipulated in the Constitution, the Elections Commission is scheduling the elections for early September, which will be announced next week.
Article 110 of the Constitution stipulates that the Presidential Election has to be held 30-120 days before the incumbent president’s term expires. Section 5(a) of the Presidential Elections Act also requires the Elections Commission to make an announcement no later than 10 days of the commencement of the last 120 days of the term of office of the incumbent president, to inform the persons wishing to stand for the elections of the opportunity to compete in the Presidential Elections.
According to de facto rules, the presidential terms starts from November 11 of the election year, hence the last 120 days of the existing term starts on July 14, 2018.
The Elections Commission is currently having meetings with relevant authorities and international organizations in preparation for the upcoming Presidential Elections. Even though there were discussions of introducing electronic voting, the Elections Commission has decided that it would continue with the previous practice of using ballot paper as the system of voting.
With the escalation of political turmoil in the country, the commission has been accused of being heavily under the influence of the government, but the EC has denied these claims and assured that the Presidential Elections will be independent just like the recent Local Council Elections.
With election looming, the president of the Elections Commission had also resigned recently and announcements have been made twice looking to fill in the vacant EC membership.
The incumbent president Abdulla Yameen is set to contest in the elections as the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s candidate. Even though all the parties in the opposition are in alliance at the moment, they have yet to announce a candidate who would run against Yameen. The opposing parties are still unsure if they would unite and announce a single candidate or if they would contest separately.