Sunset Act debate to begin today

Maldives Parliament in session | Photo: Avas

Male, Maldives – Debates on the proposed amendments to the Sunset Act for the Local Council general election regulations that if passed, will allow for the elections to be held much earlier, are to begin today.

The first sitting has on this bill was held on the 13th of January, after Member of Parliament for Hulhumale’ Constituency Ali Niyaz, on behalf of the government submitted amendment to the sunset act. During the first sitting, it was decided to allow members to debate on the topic at today’s 11AM meeting.

The planned amendments, if passed, will mandate EC to proceed with election preparations with 7 days of passing. However, if the state of public health emergency is still in effect, preparations can only start after the director general of public health sets guidelines on the matter.

Earlier in 2020, the parliament passed the sunset bill that will help authorities find a solution for the legal issues that rise with the postponement of the local council elections. According to the sunset bill, elections must be held within a year of its effectiveness. This means that the local elections needs to be held before March 09th of 2021.

However, as the State of Public Health Emergency in the country has been extended till February 3rd, the the Election Commission is facing difficulties in holding the elections in or before March.

While uncertainty revolved around the elections for quite sometime, Shareef, on the 6th of January announced that the Local Council Elections and the Women’s Development Committee Elections will be held on April 3, 2021, despite the state of public health emergency still in effect.