A conference is to be held Sunday on improving the decentralization system of the Maldives, wherein all the Councils of the Maldives will participate.
Discussions are scheduled to ensue at 13:30. The conference titled 'Viyavethi Raajje' will be ongoing for a duration of two days. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed will be speaking, and engaging in discussion with the Councillors.
According to ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), the conference is being held to discuss the amendments made to the Decentralization Act in Parliament, as well as government promises regarding a decentralized nation. They will also be discussing the formation of productive councils.
The government has invited Presidents of Island Councils, and Atoll Councils as well as Mayors of City Councils to attend 'Viyavethi Raajje'. As such, over 200 councillors will be present.
Amendments made to the Decentralization Act has increased the tenure of councillors from three years to five. Additionally, Mayors of City Councils and Presidents of Island and Atoll Councils will be chosen to contend in the elections solely by the vote of their respective councils.
The formation of the Atoll Council has also been amended. While previously the inclusion of a member from the atoll's elections sector was mandated, now the contenders for President of Atoll Council will be selected by the vote of island councils within the atoll.
Most amendments to the Decentralization Act mainly encompass strengthening the councils' finances. As such, along with 5% of the government budget, 40% of returns accumulated from the rent of islands and reefs will be given to councils. Further, 100% of the rent accumulated from a residential islands will be given to the island's respective council.
As 33% council seats have been reserved for women in the upcoming elections, 372 seats out of 980 will be occupied by women. Both men and women will be able to compete for the remaining seats.