Parliament approves constitutional amendment

The parliament early Tuesday passed the constitutional amendment allowing the term of incumbent local councillors to be extended.

The current term of the councillors will expire on June 3, and a legal limbo would have been caused after that as the local council election slated for April 4 has been indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) submitted a bill seeking a transitory provision to the Constitution's chapter on Decentralisation alongside a sunset law to allow for the extension of the term of incumbent councillors. The bill was drafted as per the advisory opinion of the Supreme Court.

The constitutional amendment was passed with 74 members voting in its favour. No members voted against the bill. According to the constitution, any constitutional amendment can be brought about if 3/4th of the parliament votes in its favour. While 87 members sit on the parliament, the required number of votes to pass the bill is 66.

Under the newly passed transitory provision, a sunset law that details the policy for the extension of councillor's term must be drafted and passed. The sunset bill submitted by MDP's Chairperson Hassan Latheef was approved with 73 members voting in its favour, and none voting against it.