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Parliamentary election day will be declared a public holiday: President

Malika Shahid
03 March 2024, MVT 17:55
President Muizzu speaks at Raa atoll Dhuvaafaru
Malika Shahid
03 March 2024, MVT 17:55

President Dr Mohamed Muizzu has announced that the current date scheduled for the parliamentary election by the Elections Commission will be declared a public holiday, as it falls on a Sunday.

Speaking at Raa atoll Dhuvaafaru, President Muizzu said that the opposition's allegations, suggesting that the parliamentary elections falling on a Sunday was due to his attempts at influencing the elections, were unfounded.

The President said that the election had to be scheduled for Sunday due to the amendment to the Elections Act passed by the parliament. While the Elections Commission requested making the voting day a public holiday as the election falls on a weekday, President Muizzu has stated that April 21 would be declared a public holiday.

"I learned about the parliamentary election falling on a Sunday from the news. I also wondered why Sunday was scheduled as the voting day. When I asked, [they] explained that new amendments to the law stipulate that the date for the election must fall earliest on that day," he said.

"They scheduled the election on a Sunday because the law stipulates it, not after consulting me. However, I have decided that the day would be declared a public holiday," the President said.

President Muizzu stated that the allegations claiming that the election would be held on a weekday to limit the number of voters exercising their right were completely false.

The amendment to the Elections Act specifies that elections shall not be conducted on a day of Ramadan, regardless of any other provision in this or any other law. If the elections are scheduled on a date during the month of Ramadan, they must be held 10 days after the conclusion of Ramadan. The Commission said that April 21 is the first available date following 10 days after the end of Ramadan.

Former President 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.

Although the bill to hold the parliamentary elections 10 days after the end of Ramadan was ratified by President Muizzu, as the parliamentary elections coincides with the month of Ramadan, Solih has alleged that the government was trying to "influence" the EC to hold the elections on a weekday.