The Maldives parliament threw out the local council elections act’s amendment seeking to ban candidates aged 65 and above from running for council elections as well as the amendment to the decentralisation act, thus marking the first unanimous votes by all lawmakers present in a sitting in the history of the Maldives.
The amendment to the local council elections act was rejected with 65 unanimous votes, while the amendment to the decentralisation act was rejected with 67 votes.
The two bills were presented to the parliament by member of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Baarah MP Ibrahim Shujau.
MP Shujau had stated that people aged 65 and above cannot efficiently bear responsibilities linked to public interests and stressed the importance of facilitating opportunities for youth to run for council elections as the objectives for submitting the elections’ amendment. Noting that the government currently provides a special monthly allowance of MVR 5000 to people aged 65 and above, Shujau also pointed out that under Clause 16 of the Constitution, the parliament can pass a low to constrict a basic right.
While a few members of PPM had spoken in favour of the two bills during the debate, the majority of the ruling party and opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Jumhooree Party had opposed the amendments.
The parliament had previously passed the amendment to the Constitution putting an age cap of 65 years on candidates for the presidential elections. However, the parliament has not amended the laws to prevent the elderly from running for parliament yet.