An old hand at vote-rigging from a southern atoll, who has now defected to MDP, told me that a sizeable percentage of Gayoom's votes may have come from female voters. According to him, women's development committees were used by Gayoom on the eve of the elections to bribe women to vote for him. Blogger Abdulla Waheed has estimated that Gayoom may have got up to 20,000 votes through the work of loyal supporters in the island administration and the women's committees.
According to senior officials of island administrations, semi-governmental organisations such as the women's committees and the island development committee habitually rig elections. Indeed, that may be the sole reason for their existence.
The auditor general has also pointed out, in his latest report, that Gayoom made several appointments to the posts of atoll chief, deputy atoll chief and assistant atoll chief in the run-up to the elections. According to the auditor general, the appointments were made "to promote DRP's presidential campaign."
Attorney general Azima Shukoor vehemently denied the auditor general's findings, while her brother Athif Shukoor, the DRP media manager, has said complaints regarding vote-buying, illegal under the new constitution, should be "officially lodged at the appropriate bodies."
While both the Shukoors hold high offices in the Gayoom government, their father is a beneficiary of the controversial "loans" scheme operated by the president's office and uncovered by the magazine Adduvas two years ago.
The auditor general has now called for an immediate cessation to the issuing of loans by the president's office.
The Shukoors are typical of DRP supporters, people who only rally behind Gayoom for money, loans, or high government posts.