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State submits sunset bill to postpone local council elections

Shahudha Mohamed
05 April 2020, MVT 12:28
Attorney General (AG) Ibrahim Riffath. The state proposed a sunset bill to postpone the local council elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
05 April 2020, MVT 12:28

The state on Saturday submitted a sunset bill to the Parliament to postpone the local council elections and enact certain policies regarding the election due to the preventive measures currently in place to contain the spread of COVID-19, under the state of public health emergency announced amidst the global pandemic.

Attorney General's (AG) Office stated that the 10-article bill titled "Special Bill for Local Council Elections 2020" will be nullified from the moment that the elected candidates take office, as sunset bills are temporary and must be obeyed under certain situations.

As per the bill, the elections will be postponed from the moment the bill is in effect. Election preparations will then continue only after the state announces that it is no longer a public health risk to proceed with the elections. Currently, local council elections are scheduled to be held on April 18.

According to the bill, the same candidates will contest in the elections despite the delay. Therefore, those candidates who automatically stand to win their seats due to being the only contender will also be sworn into office along with the elected members, following the election.

The suspension of civil servants that are running for council seats will be nullified from the moment the bill is in effect. They will return to their former job positions, but will not be able to campaign until they are placed under suspension again.

Elections Commission first submitted the proposal to postpone the local council elections at the High Court. After then filing the case at Supreme Court, the case was withdrawn as the issue required a legal solution through the Parliament.

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