Law to be revised to change policy on distribution of funds to political parties

Elections Commission chairman Fuad Thaufeeq. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Elections Commission (EC) and the Attorney General’s Office are engaged in discussions regarding changing the policy on distribution of state funds to political parties, confirms the commission’s chairman Fuad Thaufeeq.

Fuad told Sun the commission has shared its recommendations regarding changes to the policy with the Attorney General’s Office.

One of the suggestions was to distribute 20 percent of funds equally among political parties, and distribute the remaining 80 percent based on votes political parties get during parliamentary elections.

The second suggestion was to stop distribution of state funds to political parties altogether.

“The funds are currently distributed to some. Among the 11 parties, only four parties receive funds. The remaining seven parties are also managing. And we are assuming the larger four parties are also able to manage,” said Fuad.

Fuad said the changes to require the Attorney General’s Office to submit a bill to the Parliament.

“There’s great hope the bill will be submitted once the Parliament reopens after this recess,” he said.

Fuad said the commission believes the biggest reason for submission of fake membership forms to be the distribution of funds to political parties – which is currently based on membership numbers.

In an effort to stop submission of fake forms, EC has begun fining registrars of political parties by MVR 5,000 for the first fake form, and registrars by MVR 10,000 and parties by MVR 10,000 for each additional fake form.

Fuad said the introduction of the penalty has decreased the number of fake membership forms.

“We previously received 40-50 fake forms daily. We now receive around four-five forms, cutting it to one-tenth,” he said.

Fuad said political parties had asked to change the policy on fines for fake forms, and the commission was therefore engaged in discussions regarding the issue.

The law dictates that political parties with membership of 10,000 and above are entitled to funding by the state.

The highest amount of money this year went to the main governing party, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), with MVR 15.02 million. Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) received MVR 9.4 million, while Jumhoory Party (JP) received MVR 5.5 million, and Adhaalath Party received MVR 2.9 million.