Male’, Maldives – Elections Commission President Ahmed Shareef has said that he believes it would be wise to postpone local council elections to June.
Shareef said this while speaking at a national advisory committee meeting for the 2020 Local Council Elections and the Women’s Development Committee Elections.
Shareef elaborated that holding elections during a public state of emergency would hinder vaccination efforts, adding that it is better to hold of elections until a majority of the population is immunized.
He also stated that some election guidelines by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), would be very expensive to implement, and that in the event of an outbreak at a election facility, the current budget does not allow the employment of a backup force.
The member of Hoarafushi constituency, Ahmed Saleem has also previously stressed that best option is to postpone the local council elections till June of this year.
While speaking at the parliament during the debate over the proposed amendments to the Sunset Act for the Local Council general election regulations, Saleem stated that the country needs to protect the citizens from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic the world is going through and that the citizens also deserve the right to criticize and vote for the people they wish to elect.
He maintained that the elections should be held at a time when the parties can are free to travel to atolls to campaign to gain support from the citizens and when the citizens are able to openly vote for their candidates.
Saleem noted that over the past week, the country has recorded over 600 Covid-19 cases and that during such a time, he does not believe that the elections should be held.
Amendments to a sunset bill, that if passed, will mandate the Elections Commission to commence work on holding the election within seven days of the bill passing, has been forwarded to the Parliamentary Committee on Independent Institutions after 39 MPs voted for the bill during preliminary debates.