Male, Oct 25: The Maldives military has agreed to deliver ballot boxes as the country prepares for presidential elections after police blocked voting Oct 19 by refusing to deliver ballot boxes, media reported Friday.
Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim has said the military will provide assistance to the Elections Commission in transporting ballot boxes to some 200 islands for the presidential re-vote Nov 9, reports Xinhua.
But Nazim has insisted that the military will play no part in maintaining security at polling stations.
Nazim, the government’s representative for the polls, said maintaining security during the elections was the responsibility of police, according to Haveeru daily.
“The present plan is both police and the military will provide assistance to the Elections Commission to transport ballot boxes to the islands. So the Elections Commission will have our assistance for the transportation that will be required for the polls. But maintaining security is the responsibility of the police,” Nazim was quoted as saying.
Military spokesperson Colonel Abdu Raheem denied any discussions with the Elections Commission for signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) over the transportation arrangements.
The calendar issued by the commission for the polls had included an MoU to be signed with the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Oct 27 regarding sea travel to the islands in connection with the elections.
“We will provide whatever assistance we can. But no agreement has been reached over specific areas of assistance. Timeline includes the signing of an MoU. However, we have been unable to confirm the details of it,” Abdu Raheem said.
Maldives will make a third attempt to elect a president Nov 9 ahead of the Nov 11 constitutional deadline.
However, deep political infighting between presidential candidates, the Supreme Court and police have hampered the political process fuelling fears of continued unrest.