Local Council elections to be held on March 6, 2021

Members of the Elections Commission of the Maldives during a press conference | Photo: Elections Commission

Male’, Maldives – President of the Elections Commission of Maldives, Ahmed Shareef has said that they were preparing to hold the local council election and women’s development committee elections on March 6, 2021 if the situation allows them to.

While speaking at a Raajje TV program, Election Commissioner Shareef told that the commission was preparing to hold the elections in March if the Covid-19 situation allows them. He also told that there is a possibility of the date being changed if the State of Public Health Emergency announced in the country get’s extended.

The State of Public Health Emergency initially announced in the country on 7th March 2020 which has been extended for a ninth time till 5th December, 2020 and the government has not stated anything on when they would lift it.

After the State of Public Health Emergency was announced, the parliament had passed to postpone the elections which were supposed to be held this year by one year due to the situation.

Election Commissioner Shareef told that they were doing all the administrative works required to carry out the elections and that they wished to hold it before the month of Ramadan in 2021. He added that regardless of when the election date would be finalized, that they would give time mandated by the constitution for the candidates to campaign and other such things.

The Ministry of Finance had allocated a budget of MVR 49.18 for the local council elections in the proposed state budget of 2021. The budget which was allocated for the elections for 2020 was MVR 17.6 million but the government had added MVR 31.5 million to the election budget for 2021.

A total of 980 council members are to be elected during this election. According to the statistics published by the Elections Commission (EC), a total of 2,435 candidates, which account for political parties and independent candidates had sent in applications to contest in the elections. However, 46 have withdrawn their candidacy, leaving 2,388 candidates remaining. In addition to this 1,817 candidates had also applied for the women’s development committees.