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EC asks for more time to hold referendum, most MP's agree

03 October 2023, MVT 17:23
03 October 2023, MVT 17:23

Most of the members of parliament have agreed with the request of the Elections Commission (EC) for more time to prepare for the public referendum about the parliamentary system. The parliament had approved a resolution and instructed the EC to conduct the referendum before the October 30.

The initial date proposed for the referendum by the EC, in response to the parliament resolution was the October 29.

However the EC sent a letter to the parliament asking for clarification about the question that is to be asked in the referendum. The letter also requested for more time in order to create awareness among the people, prepare relevant regulations, acquire the necessary budget and make other arrangements.

The letter which was read out in the parliament sitting held today states. ".. in consideration of the time it will take for all these matters, we will inform the parliament about the earliest date when such a vote can be taken."

During the debate on this matter in today's parliamentary sitting, West Henveiru MP Hassan Latheef pointed out that, as highlighted by the EC, there are concerns about whether adequate information about the two systems can be provided to the public if the referendum is to be held before the end of the month.

"I believe it is important for members of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), as well as member of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People's National Congress (PNC) as well as other members to think deeply and make decisions about how to convey information to the public." MP Hassan said.

He said that it is important for the parliament to revise the date for the referendum in light of all these concerns.

Deputy speaker of parliament and North Galolhu MP Eva Abdulla backed MP Hassan and said that political parties and media should provide full information to the people before seeking public opinion through a vote.

According to Eva, the two major parties who contested in the election held on Saturday will need time to have internal discussions about the system.

"I think we need to give more time to create awareness among the people," MP Eva said.

Parliamentary group leader of the majority party and North Hithadhoo MP, Mohamed Aslam, said that the resolution was passed by the parliament amid the election, during a particularly challenging period. He expressed doubt that members had sufficient time to thoroughly contemplate the resolution's implications.

He said that due to the speed at which the resolution was passed, some important content were missing, as highlighted by the EC.

Aslam proposed that the letter of the EC be sent to a standing committee of the parliament for further discussions.

"I would like to highlight that my party, MDP has not decided on a specific system of government" said Aslam, noting that political parties also needed time to have discussions about the matter.