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EC moves case seeking election delay to parliament

Mariyam Malsa
18 March 2020, MVT 16:21
A press conference held by the Elections Commission. PHOTO: AHMED AWSHAN ILYAS/MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
18 March 2020, MVT 16:21

Elections Commissions (EC), on Wednesday, withdrew its Supreme Court case to delay the local council and Women's Development Committee (WDC) elections, and submitted the matter to the parliament.

Speaking to local media outlet Mihaaru, Vice President of the elections body, Ahmed Akram, revealed that the parliamentary Committee on Independent Institutions had assured a constitutional solution during a meeting held on Tuesday night.

In response to a national public health emergency issued last week over the COVID-19 pandemic, EC initially lodged a case at the High Court on Sunday, seeking an indefinite delay on local elections initially scheduled for April 4.

However, the elections watchdog withdrew the case from high court and submitted the matter to the apex court on Tuesday.

The elections were initially delayed to April 18.

As per local elections law, local elections must be held at least six months prior to the end of councillors' and committee members' existing tenure.

In their case, EC argued in its case that it was not realistic to hold the elections under current circumstances amidst the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

Maldives announced a state of public health emergency last Thursday, under which the government has implemented several measures including travel restrictions to and from resorts, and banning guesthouses and hotels in the Greater Male' region from accepting more tourist bookings for a period of 14 days.

Currently there are 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maldives, including a tourist couple on a liveaboard, two cases from Anantara Dhigurah, five foreign nationals from Kuredu Island Resort as well as two foreign citizens from Sandies Bathala and Kuramathi Maldives each. No locals have tested positive for the virus as of yet.

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