MoU with India will be implemented after council elections: EC

Elections Commission of the Maldives has revealed that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently exchanged with neighbouring India will be put into effect after the upcoming local council election.

During a sitting of the National Advisory Committee formed to consult matters of the Local Council Elections 2020 held on Wednesday, opposing Peoples' National Congress party’s (PNC) Secretary General Geela Ali expressed concern on the MoU.

Voicing her concerns, Geela said although the MoU with India is publicized, it is still worrying that the world superpower could exert influence on the upcoming election.

Addressing Geela's concerns, Vice President of EC Ahmed Akram said the MoU will not be implemented until after the local council election is concluded and its results are announced. Akram said the first requirement under the MoU is the conduction of a training program in June 2020.

The MoU was signed on Friday, December 13, during the sixth session of the joint commission meeting held in Hyderabad House, New Delhi.

Under the MoU, training programs targeted for employees of the Elections Commission, political parties and the media will be conducted to familiarize them on democracy and electoral experiences at a training centre established by the Indian Elections Commission. Akram on Tuesday said the commission intends to commence the program during June next year.

"The first activity under the MoU will be a training programme for the political parties and media personnel next June. Discussions on the training will be commenced after the local council election is concluded. Therefore, no practical implementation of the MoU will take place before the election," said Akram.

PNC has previously as well expressed concerned on the MoU. At the time, Akram had stated that the MoU will have no effect on the local council election, and that it is not related to the election in any way.

The Elections Commission is preparing for the upcoming local council election slated for April 4, 2020. 980 councillors will be elected in the massive election.