Local Council Election postponed amid COVID-19 fears

The local council election slated for April 4 has been postponed after a state of public health emergency was declared in the Maldives on Thursday.

The emergency state was invoked by Health Minister Abdulla Ameen by the discretionary powers vested in the minister by Section 33 of the 7/2012 Public Health Act after the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the current COVID-19 outbreak as a global 'pandemic'. The state of emergency was declared for a period of 30 days from 12th March 2020.

Following the announcement, the Elections Commission (EC) held a press conference later the same afternoon, and announced that the commission has made the decision to postpone the council election until April 18. This is the last date that the election can be held within the time frame mandated by the law. If any further delays are necessary, a court order will be required to effect any changes, said the President of the commission, Ahmed Shareef.

Eight people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Maldives thus far. Over 133,000 have been infected with the virus globally since late December last year.