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CSC intervenes in proposed delay for council elections

Rae Munavvar
16 March 2020, MVT 19:30
President of the Civil Service Commission Dr. Shameem addresses a press gathering. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Rae Munavvar
16 March 2020, MVT 19:30

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) decided on Monday, to intervene over the Election Commission's move to indefinitely delay the local council and women's development committee elections, citing its impact on the welfare of civil servants currently under suspension from work for contesting in the elections.

The press release also added that CSC was seeking counsel from the Attorney General Riffath Ibrahim on the matter.

EC filed a case at the High Court, on Sunday, seeking to postpone the upcoming elections indefinitely. Two weeks prior, EC announced that the election would be delayed to April 18, due to the government's declaration of a state of public health emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic. The elections were originally scheduled for April 4.

Per law, April 18 is the latest possible date the commission can postpone the election. Further delays must be sanctioned by a High Court ruling or via a new law passed by the parliament.

EC President Ahmed Shareef stated that the case was filed to avoid additional expenses, after having determined that elections cannot be held on the scheduled date under the current circumstances.

On March 12, Maldives declared a public health emergency under Section 33 of the 7/2012 Public Health Act for a period of 30 days.

The election watchdog's decision followed public demand for a delayed election, with many asserting that they would boycott the polls if they were held as previously planned.

At present, there are 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maldives, however, thus far no Maldivians have tested positive for the virus.

WHO has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected more than 134,000 and claimed over 4,900 lives around the world. Out of those infected, more than 69,000 have recovered.

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