JUST IN: LCE ballot boxes to be placed in Sri Lanka & India

Maldives election commission officials prepare ballot papers for counting votes at Elections 2018 | Photo: Ras

Malé, Maldives – The Elections Commission (EC) of Maldives has announced that ballot boxes will be placed in Sri Lanka and India for the Local Council Election (LCE) and Women’s Development Committee (WDC) elections to be held on April 10, 2021.

President of Elections Commission, Ahmed Shareef informed local news “Avas” that the paperwork is processed for ballot boxes to be placed in the two countries, with one box being placed at Trivandrum, India and four at Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The placement of ballot boxes abroad was not confirmed due to delays by government authorities.

Citizens belonging to a large number of districts are located in Sri Lanka, resulting in a higher number of officials required. However, the number of 16 officials per ballot box was not met. 17 officials have to be sent to Sri Lanka from Malé to meet the required number as only 47 officials are available in Sri Lanka. Officials have to dispatched to India as well as only 3 officials are available

There are [citizens belonging to] 150 districts registered for one ballot box in Sri Lanka. We have to find a large number of officials to dispatch abroad.

Ahmed Shareef, President of EC

Shareef mentioned that procedures are in progress to send the required officials abroad to oversee the LCE voting centers in Sri Lanka and India.

While 713 ballot boxes are to be placed, the ones belonging to the islands are to be sent tomorrow. 273182 people are registered to vote this election including every Maldivian citizen turning 18 by April 10, can vote in the upcoming elections. 2,264 candidates will run for council and 1,670 candidates will run for Women’s Development Committees (WDC).

The Local Council Election was originally supposed to be held on 4 April 2020, but due to the alarming increase of Covid-19 cases in Maldives, the country had gone into a lockdown, and the election was delayed by a year to 10 April 2021.

The Parliament had to pass a special bill due to the implications of Covid-19 in the elections, and this bill is to be followed for all incoming elections.

While the upcoming Local Council Elections (LCE) and Women’s Development Committee (WDC) elections will be held according to the guidelines given by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), this time more ballot boxes would be places in different areas as the HPA guidelines does not allow people to travel from one island to another. The voters will also be required to adhere to guidelines such as maintaining social distancing and wearing masks.