Transparency Maldives has said it will conduct an extensive program of election monitoring during the 2013-14 elections in a bid to ensure the polls are fair and credible.
The Elections Commission (EC) announced this week that presidential elections would be held on September 7, with any run-off election to be held later the same month if required.
Transparency conducted domestic election monitoring during the 2008-2011 cycle of elections, including the country’s first multi-party presidential, parliamentary and local council elections. The results of these elections were widely accepted both locally and internationally – a notable outcome given the high temperature of the country’s politics.
“However, the current political polarisation and the tense, sometimes violent, political environment have strained and continue to further threaten the democratic gains of the previous election processes,” Transparency Maldives warned.
“The next round of elections is currently headed to unfold against this polarised background that appears to deteriorate in terms of political and economic problems,” it added.
In addition to nationwide election monitoring, Transparency Maldives will deploy observers to monitor the entire campaign period, as well as conduct a pre-election technical assessment that includes a focus on voter education.
“Educating voters is a crucial component of a credible election. Voter education is important to instil the values of civic responsibilities and prevent electoral violations such as vote buying and patronage, and change the attitudes of the general public to encourage wider public participation in increasing the integrity of the electoral system,” Transparency said.
The organisation will also run an online complaints mechanism, and perform media monitoring of the country’s heavily polarised fourth pillar.