Some electoral constituencies are more equal than others. The Election Commission's interim report on delineating electoral constituencies shows that the sizes of individual constituencies vary widely from a low of 1079 population in Vaavu Keyodhoo to a high of 6065 population in Hulhudoo-Meedhoo. Thus a person in Keyodhoo has nearly 6 times more say in the Majlis election than a voter in Meedhoo.
Actually 2 atolls of the Maldives (Vaavu and Faafu) have less population than Hulhudoo-Meedhoo and two other atolls (Alifu Alifu and Meemu) have nearly equal populations. However, these 4 atolls will all be sending 2 members each to the Majlis, while Hulhudoo-Meedhoo will be sending just one member.
This discrepancy cannot be fully blamed on the Election Commission because it has to work within the limits set by the Constitution. The Constitution allots 2 members to each of what it calls 'administrative zones.' If the population of an administrative zone exceeds 5000, then one extra member is allotted for each additional 5000. It is this 2-tiering of constituencies and administrative zones that is partially responsible for the problem. However the relevant law does give the Election Commission some leeway in reducing discrepancies. In the case of Hulhudoo-Meedhoo the Commission has decided to make it a single constituency to "maintain social harmony."
Inter-constituency differences are not the only problem with the allocation of Majlis seats. The total of 77 members is also a cause for concern. It is about 50% more than the outgoing Majlis. Many citizens question whether such a high number of expensive members are needed for a population of just 300,000.
[Note: Meedhoo is one among the author's 3 home islands, the other 2 being Male and Kulhudhuffushi]