Local Council Elections to be held despite Medical State of Emergency

Officials at a local election in Maldives | Photo: Reuters

Male’, Maldives – The Parliament of Maldives has passed a bill proposed on behalf of the government, to allow the upcoming Local Council Elections to be held, despite an ongoing Medical State of Emergency.

The bill which was brought to the Parliament floor by MP of Hulhumale’ constituency, Ali Niyaz was initially discussed by the Parliamentary Committee on Independent Commissions, followed by a direct vote by the Parliament. The bill passed with 38 votes.

With this, the clause in the Special Act on Local Council Elections, dictating that the Local Council Elections must be held prior to the 10th of May of this year has also been amended. As such, the new amendment states that should circumstance dictate that the election cannot be held on or prior to the specified date, the Elections Commission must inform the Parliament accordingly, 30 days prior to the date specified in the Act.

Although it was previously framed to have the duration allocated for election related activities to be shortened, the bill passed today stipulates otherwise, and mandates the Elections Commission to recommence work related to holding the election within seven days of the bill being passed by the Parliament.

The bill also states that such work must be commenced by the Elections Commission after announcing the date of election early on, and that upon this announcement, the Director General of Public Health must formulate and publish all health directives regarding the elections, with in seven days.

Although passed by the Parliament today, the bill will only come into effect from the date of being ratified by the President.

As of now, the Elections Commission is preparing to hold the Elections of 4th April of this year. Roughly around 2,300 candidates ran for the election, which was initially planned to be held during April of 2020. However, many have since withdrawn their candidacy, as the election continues to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its public gathering restrictions.