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Voting peaceful in Maldives parliamentary polls despite arrests

English.news.cn   2014-03-22 20:12:49

MALE, MALDIVES, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Polling concluded peacefully in the Maldives parliamentary election despite the arrests of at least six people for minor violations, an official said here on Saturday.

At least six people were detained by police for showing their marked ballot cards as well as other minor misdemeanors such as attempting to offer bribes and obstructing the police.

Local media reports quoted the police as assuring that these people will were detained for questioning.

Observers have also noted that turnout has been less than expected. "We have received 25 complaints about the voting process," Elections Commission member Mohamed Farooq told reporters. "Our aim is to secure 65 seats in the parliament. If we secure the majority in this election, we will prioritize bills on economic development and the amendment of the penal code. Our coalition is not going to fall apart after this election," Maldives President Abdulla Yameen told reporters after casting his vote.

His main rival former President Mohammad Nasheed who heads the Maldives Democratic Party and currently holds majority in Parliament was also upbeat.

"The elections are being held after consulting the committees that were formed to instruct and advice the Elections Commission. I believe - God willing - the election will be fair and will proceed without disruptions," former President Mohamed Nasheed said after voting.

There are 85 candidates contesting from the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP); 50 candidates from ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM); 28 candidates from the ruling government's coalition partner Jumhoory Party; 7 candidates from government's coalition partner Maldivian Development Alliance (MDA); 12 candidates from religious conservative Adhaalath Party; six candidates from Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) and 114 independent candidates contesting in the parliamentary election of 2014.

A total of 302 candidates, including 23 women are vying for the 85 seats in the parliament. Capital Male's holds the largest number of constituencies at 13, with seven in Addu City and the remaining 65 constituencies scattered across the island nation.

The run up to the elections have been steeped in controversy after the Maldives Supreme Court earlier this month handed down suspended prison sentences to the elections commissioner and his second in command. The controversial ruling also removed the two from their posts leaving a virtually headless commission to oversee the parliamentary election. Supreme Court on March 9 issued a suspended six-month prison sentence for Elections Commission Chair Fuad Thaufeeg, and declared void the membership of the commission's chair and vice chair.

The prison sentence has been suspended for three years.

The Maldives Supreme Court has repeatedly come under fire from the international community for failing to meet international standards and has been accused of attempting to undermine the independence of the Elections Commission.

Editor: chengyang
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