EC decides council election cannot be held on April 18

Elections Commission (EC) has announced that the local council election cannot be held within the period stipulated in the Elections Act.

Earlier, EC postponed the local council election that was initially slated for April 4, until April 18 due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, foreseeing that the elections cannot be held on April 18 given that fact that situation of the country has not improved and upon the declaration of a public health emergency, EC has been seeking a legal solution for the matter.

In line with that, EC approached the High Court and Supreme Court requesting for a way forward regarding the local council election. However, EC has now approached the parliament upon the Speaker’s statement that the solution is with the parliament and not with the courts.

After the case was withdrawn from the Supreme Court and submitted to parliament, the parliament requested EC to prepare a bill over the issue. The Attorney General’s Office has prepared and submitted a special bill on local council election with the input of EC.

The bill that covers ten articles has been designed in a way that it will become invalid once the new councillors are elected.

Despite that, the parliament has not provided a solution to the issue. The parliament is having a difference of opinion as the members are divided between two opinions. While the government has submitted two bills, another bill has been submitted by an MP of the same main ruling party, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

It is unlikely that the parliament will provide a solution before April 18. The reason is that currently, the parliament has been conducting virtual meetings which have also been halted. No sittings will be held for the remainder of this week.

On Monday EC has decided the local council election cannot be held on April 18.

The commission further stated that the local council election will be held once the public emergency has ended and when there is a safe environment for conducting an election or when a legal solution is obtained.