Former president of Maldives and current Speaker of the parliament Mohamed Nasheed has stated that the country has successfully established a true decentralised system.
During Thursday's parliament sitting, a bill on amendment to the Decentralization Act was passed, that increased the term of local councils from three to five years, and requires at least five councillors to be appointed to each council. According to the amendment, one third of each council must be occupied by women.
The parliament committee on decentralization had proposed further amendments such that councillors can be dismissed from their posts through the parliament once recommended by Local Government Authority (LGA). However, both opposition parliamentarians and some members representing main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) opposed the amendment, after which the clause was removed from the proposed amendment, and an additional clause was proposed instead that allows LGA to suspend councillors. The proposition was passed with the votes of 73 members, and the amendments to the Decentralisation Act were passed with the agreement of 76 members.
In a tweet posted on Thursday night, Speaker Nasheed said local councils are now empowered with authority to handle the budgets allocated to them, and that he believes a true decentralised government has now been established with the clause that mandates one third of councils to be occupied by women.
Nasheed congratulated the policy makers at the President's Office who contributed to submitting the bill to the parliament, members of MDP, the party's Agenda 19 manifesto committee and all others involved in formulating the bill. He especially congratulated President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on the bill being passed by the parliament.