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EC submits clarifications regarding election on system of governance to parliament

Lamya Abdulla
23 September 2023, MVT 18:01
(FILE) Deputy President of the Elections Commission (EC), Ismail Habeeb, on a press conference on September 12, 2023: President Solih has said he is not against a general election held next month to finalise this matter - Photo: Fayaz Moosa / Mihaaru
Lamya Abdulla
23 September 2023, MVT 18:01

Election Commission (EC) has submitted to the parliament asking for clarifications prior to holding a vote asking the people to choose a system of governance.

Vice President of EC Ismail Habeeb said in a post on X, the platform previously known as Twitter, the commission has received the motion passed by the parliament regarding changing the system of governance and they have sought legal advice on how they should be proceeding on the matter.

However, he did not release details on the matter.

Habeeb said the commission had informed the parliament administration about the issues requiring answers before taking a general vote to seek public opinion. The commission is yet to provide details. The EC had earlier said that at least 30-45 days would be required to hold the elections, which is expected to cost MVR 40 million.

A resolution passed by parliament on Thursday mandated the Elections Commission to conduct a systemic vote by October 30. The resolution was proposed by Ilyas Labeeb of The Democrats, one of the leading advocates of bringing a parliamentary system to the country.

The resolution was passed by the parliament with the support of a number of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) members. However, opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People’s National Congress (PNC) members did not participate in the voting.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih believes that a systemic vote can only be reached if it is passed by 75 percent of parliamentarians and brought for ratification. Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, however, wants the parliament to call for a general vote directly without holding a parliamentary session.

The president has also said that he does not object to a general vote next month.

A presidential system was established in the Maldives after an election took place on August 18, 2007, allowing the people to decide between a presidential system and a parliamentary system before the drafting of the constitution. Out of 149,380 voters, 62 percent supported the presidential system.

Leading up to the elections, there was an intense month-long campaign. President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who was in power at the time, campaigned for the presidential system, while the opposition favored the parliamentary system.

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