“The decision by Defense Minister Adam Shareef Umar to post on social media today regarding “reports of a plot to create disturbances” and perceived threats to national security is highly irregular. It is believed to be a planned precedent to delay presidential elections due to be held on 23 September.
There are procedures that need to be followed in the event of a national security threat. By posting on facebook, the Minister is transgressing laws, regulations and protocols of the Maldives National Defence Force. His conduct is clearly politically motivated and believed to be on the orders of President Abdulla Yameen.
It is widely perceived that these recent actions come as the latest move by the government to disrupt and delay the elections, and create public fear and mistrust which undermines public confidence and faith in the system and attempts to deflect voters.
The government has previously sought to deflect voters by attempting to get people to choose between applying for social housing and being able to vote. The Elections Commission’s initial decision to place ballot boxes only in 7 of the 132 resorts, and constant perturbation of the process of re-registration raise fears EC is working along with the government to disenfranchise opposition voters. These concerns about the EC’s independence remain unresolved and get further reinforced as the date for election advances.
I call upon the international community, the Commonwealth, European Union, the United Nations, India, the United Kingdom and United States to assist the people of the Maldives to ensure a free and fair election process. The fact that the EC has already extended the candidacy nomination deadline without consulting political parties are further grounds for similar concerns. The EC must be reconstituted and the elections must be held in the Maldives on 23 September, as announced.”