Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Election unlikely on October 4

It appears that the Presidential Election slated for October 4th may not be held on that date. On Monday Commissioner of Elections Mohammed Ibrahim proposed this date contingent upon the establishment of the Supreme Court and the passage of two pieces of crucial legislation within this week: the Law on Elections and the Law on Presidential Election. Barring a miracle, these will not happen within that deadline. Where do we go from here?

One obvious implication is that the election must be postponed to allow time for passing the laws, drafting regulations and institutionalizing them. But how long can the election be postponed? To meet the constitutional deadline for inaugurating the new President on November 11, the first round of the election must finish latest by 31 October. This will leave a bare minimum of 10 days for completing the second round, should that become necessary. There is one problem however with such a postponement: Article 301 (Haa) of the Constitution requires that the Presidential Election must be completed by October 10.

Postponement of the date of inauguration beyond November 11 will involve an additional predicament. November 11 has traditionally been the date of oath taking right from 1968. Thus postponement beyond that date requires the crossing of a psychological barrier, in addition to the legal limit specified in Article 301 (Shaviyani) of the Constitution.

Some experts are of the opinion that postponement of the dates stipulated in Article 301 of the Constitution will lead to a legal void. But void or not, it must be done if necessary. As John Wayne says, "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do." The Majlis and the new Supreme Court must be prepared to deal with this eventuality.

Apart from the legal constraints, is it desirable to postpone the election? This is a very controversial question and opinions are likely to be sharply divided. One argument against it is that postponement beyond November 11 will result in a government without legitimacy, a very imprudent precedent to create. Such an illegitimate government it is argued could go on indefinitely, an eventuality that will be unacceptable to the people and could lead to mass protests.

The argument for postponement is that it will give sufficient time for the newly formed Election Commission to do a thorough job instead of a hurried election. Additionally, it will also give the electorate enough time to get familiar with the manifestos of recently formed parties such as Jumhooree Party and Gaumee Itthihaad. The argument here is that the public must be given all opportunities to make an informed decision.

Despite the strong arguments against it, postponement of the election date now appears likely. And with each passing day the Election Commission is running out of options.


Anonymous said...

From what is happening around us I could say Ibra is one who has a vision which sees things a bit ahead of the rest. Proof to this is he has been saying all this time that it is not possible and would not be a "Free and Fair Election" on that schedule based on the legislation and logic. The only one who raised eyebrow is Umar Naseer. The rest of the candidates, parties kept on saying that it is possible and it would be a "Free and Fair Election" and would be held on time.

Finally where are we ending now? The maximum 10 days or less perhaps is definitely not enough to campaign. And when we know the real date for the historical vote perhaps the rest of the candidates would wake up and say "Yes we knew it all the way".

What a joke and what a shame?

Anonymous said...

No this is not possible. The 10th October dead line is given in the constitution. Article 299 of the constitution says every citizen must comply with all the provisions of the constitution from the moment it comes into force. Article 292 of the constitution says that there cannot be any amendments to the constitution until presidential/parliamentary elections have been held.

Anonymous said...

Serves it right. This is the heavy price we have to pay if we are all so greedy for power. The Constitution we have made is a mess, a result of the hatred, vengeance, jealousy and bitter war waged between the Gayoom and opposition. Now it looks like they are all loosing. How funny and unrealistic the lawmakers have not given sufficient time for holding such an election. How can we finish all these laws and other requirements in such a rush. I think we better try to get Alladdin's lamp so that we can try to solve the issue through the jinni. Oh yes much better we can ask Reeko Ibrahim Maniku to get the election done through his super natural powers.

One last solution is abolish the constitution and make Gayoom King of Maldives so that he and his dynasty can rule the Maldives for ever. WE will remain his faithful servants. Let us also give the title Maumoon to all our kings and rulers.

Anonymous said...

Oh no. We have such a wizard. Reform Minister Nasheed is very clever and he can solve the problem. He is a great constitutional lawyer. But unfortunately his plans have trapped Gayoom and all of us. He must have known this very well when he drafted the laws. He was there in command when the transitional chapter with these dates were finalised. At least he should have listened to Ibra even if Ibra was not a lawyer. Would it not have done better if we decided to elect a president before 5 November. That would have given us about a month more for all these big works to be done.

RadioActiveMind said...

i agree. its somthing everyone sensed ever since this deadline (10 oct) was passed in the majlis. But like what anonymous said it ws one man till today arguing with rest on this simple fact. Ibrahim Ismail (Ibra). He is a man of vision,no doubt.
To repect one article shouldnt be a reason we can disrepect several articles and clauses of the constitution.

Anonymous said...

DRP is hell bent have election before october 10. Reform minister has said timelines given for various tasks can be reduced and election can be held on schedule. Very nice to say. But how can it serve our broader purpose by rushing into the election this way. How can it be fair. May be Gayoom is confident he has rallied enough support to win the election. How about new candidates who might contest after Election Commission announces the date. Government and Election Commission must be more reasonable. This is why there were so much concern about the Election Commission which we all know without a shadow of doubt is not independent at all. The fact that parties to nominate members was a wrong procedure. WE are about to see the darkest side of the reforms.

Nazeer said...


If leaders intend and are prepared to give real service to our country, which is also the duty of every one of us, if you have heard me right, then we you guys will have to add something which cannot be bought or measured with a financial involvement, and that surely is and would be sincerity and integrity. Have we ever known or has there ever been a time when our leaders were able to bring about the right wakefulness to our society with a respectable intention for creating a reputable Islamic society, with an aim of preserving unity and the integrity of Maldives. That is how this election will be too. If something different happens thank God.
A legitimte parliament must have a say in everything that happens in the country. We all as citizens of this country,one basic fact we need to know and understand is that self-government depends upon honest and open debate to establish the truth and a shared respect for the rule of reason as the best way to establish that truth.
Article 299 of the constitution says every citizen must comply with all the provisions of the constitution from the moment it comes into force.Yes anonymous!?

May God Almighty help us, one and another in righteousness and piety, but not help us in sin and enmity against others.

Anonymous said...

Hatharu vana baabu,
Raeesul jumhooriyya,

(Riyaasathuge dhauru)107(haa)

Raeesul jumhooriyyage dhaurakee fas aharu dhuvaheve. Adhi "miqaanoon asaasee"ge dhashun raeesul jumhooriyaage maqaamah inthihaab kurevey ehves meehakah vidhividhigen nuvatha enoon gothakah ves dhedhaurahvure ginadhuvahu raeesul jumhooriyya kamuge maqaameh nufureyne eve.
Note:(mi qaanoon asaasege dhashun kamah bunevifai evanee, dhivehi jumhooriyaage Qaanoon asaasee eve)