Revisions submitted to enable council elections to be fast-tracked

Chairperson of the Parliament's Committee on Decentralisation Ali Niyaz | photo:

Male’, Maldives – Legislative revisions have been submitted to the Parliament to enable the delayed Local Council Elections to be held regardless of whether the state of public health emergency declared over the COVID-19 pandemic remains in effect, along with a request for an additional session as soon as possible to pass the revisions.

While the revisions were submitted by MP of Hulhumale’ Constituency Ali Niyaz on Thursday morning, Niyaz also requested the Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed to convene the Parliament for an extraordinary session to work on the revisions, citing the urgency of the need to hold the elections as soon as possible.

The Local Council Elections was originally scheduled for April last year, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after passing a sunset law, Special Provisions Act on Local Council Elections 2020. According to Article 7 of Special Provisions Act on Local Council Elections, Local Council Elections cannot be held unless the state of public health emergency declared over the COVID-19 pandemic is lifted.

Ali Niyaz told local news outlet Sun, that key revisions to the Act are designed to enable for the elections to be held even if the state of public health emergency remains in effect, enable for legally mandates time frames for elections preparations, including deadlines for voter registration and finalization of voters’ list to be shortened.

In addition to this, another key revision will authorize the Elections Commission to set an election date. Elections Commission had previously attempted to hold the postponed elections on March 6, but the attempt fell through following the recent extension to the state of public health emergency until February 3.

The commission has stated it needs at least 60 to 70 days to make the necessary preparations ahead of the elections. Elections Commission’s chairman Ahmed Shareef recently announced that the commission now hopes to have the necessary legislative revisions pushed through this January and hold the elections on April 3.