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President wishes for parliamentary elections to be held on March 17 without delay

Anaan Bushry
23 February 2024, MVT 14:46
President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu and his Special Advisor on their visit to Fuvahmulah City -- Photo: President's Office
Anaan Bushry
23 February 2024, MVT 14:46

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has stated that although the Election Act has been amended to allow for the postponement of the parliamentary elections, it will be held on March 17 as scheduled by the Elections Commission (EC).

The main opposition party, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which holds a majority in Parliament, initiated amendments to the Election Act to postpone the elections until after the month of Ramadan. The amendment seeking to prohibit holding elections during Ramadan was also made to postpone the parliamentary elections.

According to the amendment, the election will be held on April 20. However, the ratification of the bill is still pending.

The Elections Commission, meanwhile, is gearing up to hold the elections during the first week of Ramadan.

During the ongoing tour to various atolls, the President indicated no intentions of postponing the election.

Although the bill was passed on February 11, the President, speaking about the parliamentary elections to residents of Addu City Hulhudhoo, said that the elections will be held on March 17.

Addressing the people in Gaafu Alifu atoll Gemanafushi, the President said that if a majority of opposition members secure seats in the parliamentary elections on "March 17," the government might not receive cooperation.

According to the constitution, a bill must be submitted to the President for ratification within seven days of being passed in Parliament, with ratification expected within 15 days thereafter; a deadline set to expire next week.

If the President opts to return the bill without ratification, it must be done within the specified 15-day period.

Upon the bill's return, Parliament has the option to re-pass it without any changes, which would then mandate the President to ratify the bill.

Holding elections during Ramadan is also a matter of concern the Elections Commission, as lower voter turnout is anticipated during this period. The commission also observes difficulties in recruiting and training officials during Ramadan, posing additional challenges.

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