Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) on Saturday suspended party's campaign activities for the upcoming local council elections due to COVID-19 outbreak.
In response to government's declaration of a state of public health emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic, the Elections Commission (EC) on Thursday announced that the local council election, along with the Women's Development Committee (WDC) elections, originally scheduled for April 4 will be postponed for April 18.
According to MDP's press statement, the party has decided to halt all campaign activities as per election body's decision to delay the elections, adding that the party's members and resources were at the government's disposal to offer any assistance to contain the spread of the virus in the country.
Citing that delaying the elections to April 18 is shorter than as stipulated in law, MDP claimed that the delay does not provide sufficient time to run campaign activities ahead of the elections amidst the outbreak.
The party went on to call the election authority to reschedule the local elections to a later date, allowing adequate time to conduct campaign activities.
MDP had ceased all campaign activities last week including public gatherings, campaign tours to the atolls, and announced it would conduct campaign activities through social media platforms, with a special focus on promoting public awareness regarding COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
MDP leader Mohamed Nasheed's scheduled trip to Laamu atoll last week was cancelled along with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's trip to Fuvahmulah.
Maldives announced its eleventh case of COVID-19 on Sunday.
In addition to two cases from Anantara Dhigu Resort, five foreign nationals from Kuredu Island Resort as well as two foreign citizens from Sandies Bathala and Kuramathi Maldives each, tested positive for the virus.
Globally, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 156,000 and claimed over 5,800 lives around the world. Out of those infected, more than 75,000 have recovered.