Extraordinary parliament sitting to held next Wednesday

An extraordinary sitting of the parliament will be held on Wednesday to work on necessary revisions to the law that would allow for the local council election to be held even during a state of public health emergency.

The council elections were originally planned to be held during April 2020. However, the election was postponed after a State of Public Health Emergency was declared in the Maldives due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

A sunset law was passed by the Parliament last year to address the legal issues that arose due to the delay in holding the election. According to the law, the election has to be held within a year of ratifying the law. Therefore, the election has to be held before May 9th this year.

While the Elections Commission was working to hold the election this March, the election can no longer be held in March due to the extension of the State of Public Health Emergency declared in the Maldives. Therefore, the commission is now making arrangements to schedule the election for April 3rd.

However, in order to make the necessary arrangements in time, the parliament, which is currently in recess, will need to hold an extraordinary sitting before the official re-convening in February and bring the required amendments to the law, EC has previously said.

Hulhumale’ MP Ali Niyaz on Thursday proposed to amend the law such that it does not necessitate for the state of public health emergency to be lifted in order to hold the election. As such, a sitting has now been scheduled for next Wednesday night to work on the amendments.

Elections Commission has said that if the required amendments are ratified within the month, the election can be held before Ramadan on April 13.