EC requests to amend laws as State of Public Health Emergency cannot be overturned

EC President Ahmed Shareef | Photo: Mihaaru

Male’, Maldives — The Elections Commission of Maldives has requested amend the sunset provision on the local council elections set in place by the Maldivian Parliament.

This comes after the Health Protection Agency (HPA) assert that the State of Public Health Emergency, which EC says is greatly hindering election preparation efforts, cannot be abolished due to fears over uncontrollable Covid-19 spread in the country.

Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) spokesperson Dr. Fathimath Nazla said that he State of Public Health Emergency cannot be overturned as new strains are being discovered globally, and with Maldives still unsuccessful in obtaining vaccines, overruling the state of emergency would see HPA face legal difficulties while attempting to control disease spread.

The sunset provision, a special law on elections passed by Parliament after local council elections were postponed earlier this year due to Covid, states that the elections should be held within one year of the provision being passed, which means that the elections must be held before the 9th of May 2021

However, he said this cannot be achieved unless the State of Public Health Emergency is overturned before the 5th of next month.

The EC President said that the special law one lections is not only to be followed by EC, and that other institutions must also assist in allowing elections to be carried out. He noted that HPA must facilitate EC with matters relating to the election.