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Requested preponing elections ahead of Ramadan: President

Mariyath Mohamed
29 February 2024, MVT 14:40
Mariyath Mohamed
29 February 2024, MVT 14:40

President Dr Mohamed Muizzu has said that he, too, does not wish to hold elections during Ramadan, and for this reason, had requested that the parliamentary elections be preponed and held ahead of the fasting month.

He said that despite this request, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which holds the parliament majority, did not want to amend the General Elections Act and bring this change into effect.

As per the last announcement by the Elections Commission, the parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held on March 17, within the first week of Ramadan.

The parliament has since twice passed a bill requiring the postponement of the election to ten days after Ramadan, despite President Dr Muizzu sending it back without ratification the first time.

As per Article 91(b) of the Constitution, any Bill returned to the People’s Majlis for reconsideration without ratification shall be ratified by the President and published in the Gazette if the Bill, after reconsideration, is passed without any amendments, by a majority of the total membership of the parliament.

The President said that he had earlier appealed to the Elections Commission as well to hold the parliamentary elections prior to Ramadan.

"I wanted to hold the parliamentary elections before Ramadan. That is because the elections falling in Ramadan would highly inconvenience the people," the President said while speaking in Noonu atoll Kendhikulhudhooo today.

He said that this could have only been achieved through amendments to the law, and MDP, with parliament majority, refused to let it happen.

"They should explain why they wouldn't agree to amend the law, shouldn't they? All we are hearing is that people will be inconvenience if elections are held during Ramadan. So why didn't they prepone it? If they had preponed it, this issue would have been solved," the President said.

"Asked unofficially, I even told the Elections Commission that my preference is that they hold the election ahead of Ramadan if it does not contravene the Constitution and laws. Even if it happens to be just one day ahead of Ramadan, to do it. Then they approached the parliament," he revealed.

"Parliament has an MDP majority. For some concealed reason, they did not want to prepone the elections to before Ramadan. They are not talking about that at all, are they?"

He once again repeated his allegations that MDP parliamentarians are under the influence of an outside source.

The President maintains that the Parliament's passing of the General Elections Act was done through an unconstitutionally declared total number of parliamentarians amounting to 80, bringing the legitimacy of the vote into question.

He made this claim following the Supreme Court's decision today where they ruled that the amendment brought by Parliament to its regulations regarding the manner of counting the total number of parliamentarians contravene the Constitution.

While the President has stated this, parliament records of yesterday's vote regarding the amendments to the General Elections Act show the bill was passed through the votes of 47 members, with 14 voting against. Even if the total number of parliamentarians is considered at 87, the majority will be reached through a minimum of 43 votes.