Campaigning virtually is a difficult challenge: Opposition

Senior officials of PPM/PNC opposition coalition
Senior officials of PPM/PNC opposition coalition. | Photo via Sun

Malé, Maldives – The Progressive Congress coalition of the Maldives has said that although they have been advised to conduct campaigns virtually, there are many challenges faced.

In a press conference held today by the elections committee of the opposition coalition, campaign manager and MP of Madaveli constituency Muaz Mohamed Rasheed said that one of the biggest challenges is the slow internet speed.

The internet prices are extremely high, the speed very slow. By some coincidence the upload speed drops even lower during our campaign event time.

MP Muaz, Madaveli constituency

The opposition claims that they sent paperwork to procure an event location to re-launch their “Mee magey Raajje – Magey vote rukah” campaign but were not given the venues.

“MDP “Rahvehi Fathis” event was held at the TVM hall, but we were not given the same opportunity although we filled out the paperwork”, MP Muaz said.

The opposition has claimed unequal campaign opportunities being given to the ruling party and opposition.

The election preparations are underway for Local Council Elections and Women’s Development Committee (WDC) elections be held on the 10 April 2021 in accordance with the Local Council Elections Special Provision Act 2020.

The Local Council Elections Special Provision Act 2020 (Act no.: 03/2020) requires relevant authorities to move forward with the election process despite the current health emergency. However, the proceedings should be held per the guidelines set forth by the Director-General of Public Health.

The Elections Commission has noted difficulty in providing campaign opportunities to all parties, all of whom are provided with 28 days to campaign as a major concern due to the HPA safety measures.

Due to recent complaints by the Elections Commission about the campaign guidelines set by the HPA, the parliamentary Committee on Independent Institutions has decided that the HPA guidelines need to be changed to address the concerns by EC.