Male’, Maldives — The Vice President of the Elections Commission (EC), Ismail Habeeb has stated that the Health Protection Agency (HPA) cannot give directives on how to hold the elections.
While speaking at an EC meeting, Habeeb stated that they were satisfied with the guideline drafts that were provided by the HPA during a meeting that was held earlier. Habeeb stated that as the drafted guideline was gazetted, HPA had made an edit to the guideline to include an order to the Elections Commission.
According to Habeeb, the guideline provided by the HPA does not provide equality for the different parties to campaign in.
He further stated that several employees of the EC are working as frontliners regarding the upcoming elections and that till date, none of these employees had received the Covid-19 vaccine. Habeeb stated that they have requested HPA to provide vaccine for these frontliners as well, but the agency has not given a reply yet.
Habeeb further stated that HPA is compelling EC to do things against the EC regulations as per the constitution.
We don’t accept that the HPA can give directives to the EC on how to hold the elections.Habeeb stated.
Habeeb noted that HPA cannot give the EC directives on how to hold the elections and that if HPA wishes to do that, then the rules of the EC must be changed before doing it. Habeeb further stated that the new guidelines gazetted by the HPA takes away the independence of the EC.
Habeeb stressed that the EC is very eager to hold the elections on 10 April 2021 and that the elections can only be held on that date, if the candidates and all parties receive equal rights in campaigning. However, Habeeb stated that the elections can only be held after the EC receives approval for the revised budget.