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Solih raises concern over parliamentary election on weekday

Former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has raised concern over the parliamentary election being re-scheduled to be held on April 21, which falls on a Sunday.

Malika Shahid
02 March 2024, MVT 10:42
Former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Male' City Mayor Adam Azim along with senor members of MDP in a meeting organized in Male' City last night
Malika Shahid
02 March 2024, MVT 10:42

Former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has alleged that the current government is attempting to exert influence over the upcoming 20th parliamentary election scheduled by the Elections Commission (EC) on April 21.

Speaking at a meeting organized by the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in Male' City last night, one of the main reasons for these allegations was the EC's decision to schedule the elections on a weekday instead of a government holiday.

On Thursday night, President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu ratified the bill of amendments to the General Elections Act, which was passed for the second time by the parliament. The amendments prohibit elections from being held during Ramadan.

With the amendment now law, the parliamentary election originally scheduled for March 17 has been rescheduled to take place on April 21. According to the newly ratified law, elections can be held ten days after the end of Ramadan, and April 21 is the first available date that aligns with this stipulation.

For a long time, elections in the Maldives have been conducted on Saturdays, which are government holidays. However, breaking this trend, the parliamentary elections are now scheduled to take place on a non-government holiday.

Solih said that holding elections on government holidays has been a practice aimed at ensuring that the maximum number of people are given the opportunity to exercise a fundamental right guaranteed to them by the constitution.

"However, [the government] has tried to hinder that as well," he said.

Although President Muizzu has ratified the bill to schedule the elections 10 days after the end of Ramadan, Solih said that the government was trying to "influence" the EC and aiming to conduct the election on a weekday.

Former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih speaking at the meeting

"I would like to tell the Elections Commission not to succumb to power and influence. The EC is an independent institution. Facilitate the public in casting their votes easily. Schools are open, and people need to send their children to schools and make use of the halls. How can we go forward with this?" Solih said.

"However, I am sure beyond a doubt that this is due to the power and influence of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu. I urge the Election Commission not to be swayed".

Solih, who has served as President for the last five years, stated that President Muizzu has been attempting to revive autocracy in the Maldives. He urged everyone to remain mindful of this and emphasized that to prevent it, MDP has to secure the majority in the upcoming parliamentary election.