Election Violence

In 2008, presidential elections ended the three-decade dictatorship of Mamoun Abdul Gayoom and brought Mohamed Nasheed, a veteran human rights campaigner and well known environmental activist, to power. His victory, a new constitution and a wave of international goodwill appeared to usher in a new era. But Nasheed had many enemies: the former regime, new players hungry for power in the young democracy, religious conservatives. Then there were those alienated by what one local commentator called his “all or nothing” style.

The result was a series of escalating political clashes over issues such as the independence of the judiciary and alleged “anti-Islamic” policies in the Sunni Muslim nation. After weeks of street violence, in February Nasheed was forced to resign. In two weeks, he faces trial on charges of illegally detaining a senior judge. Conviction could see him barred from participation in a new presidential poll scheduled for next year.

In 2013, After cancelling of the second tour of the presidential election by the Supreme Court, a TV station set on fire in Maldives. A pro-opposition television station in the Maldives came under attack early on Monday, when masked men – filmed on security cameras – started a fire which gutted the building. About six men on motorbikes threatened and chased away a security guard before setting fire to studios at Raajje TV, according to station owner Akram Kamaludeen.

The Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) is a non-partisan NGO, which aims to promote human rights and the principles of democracy in the Maldives. MDN established its Network of Human Rights Defenders (NHRD) volunteer network of local community based individuals in atolls across Maldives who were given basic human rights training in 2010. In 2011, NHRD monitored election related violence for a period of 5 weeks beginning on the 15th of January 2011 on 8 atolls including Male’.

Given that the data from external sources (media, Police, HRCM, and EC) represents data from a completely different population set and was collected in a different method, no direct comparisons are possible with the data from the NHRD. What could be indicative however is that nationwide data reported from the Police, HRCM, and EC (from the NECB) totals only 34 acts of electoral violence when combined. This contrasts with NHRD reports of 57 acts from just 7 islands and nationwide media reports of 32 incidents over the monitoring period.


Luc Michel, #EODE-TV/ Electoral Violence in Maldives: ‘Raajje TV’ in Fire, Eurasian Observatory for Democracy & Elections, Aug 10, 2013,

Jason Burke, Maldives’ political instability allows gang violence to flourish, The Guardian, Oct 22, 2012,

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