The National Security Committee of the parliament late Tuesday passed the amendments to the Elections General Act allowing convicts to run for elections, with the exception of those convicted of child abuse.
The committee has brought several changes to the contentious bill lobbied to the parliament by ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s Hulhudhoo MP Ali Mohamed, most notably preventing anyone convicted of child abuse to apply candidacy for elections.
With these changes, the bill was passed by a unanimous vote from the committee's 10 members.
According to the committee's amendments of the bill, anyone charged and convicted of a criminal offence who is serving a sentence cannot run as a candidate in the upcoming Local Councils Elections.
However, those convicted of drug dealing can run in the elections minimum seven years after completion of their sentences.
Meanwhile, those convicted of criminal offences other than child abuse and drug dealing, who have served sentences longer than 12 months, can apply as candidates three years after completing their sentences.
The current requirements of a candidate include being a Maldivian citizen, not being a foreigner, being a Sunni Muslim, being above 18 years, a person in sound mind, not holding a position at an electoral post and not being a full time student.
The initial bill presented by MP Ali Mohamed allows convicts of child abuse, drug abuse and rape to run in the elections.
With the changes approved by the National Security Committee, the bill will be sent to the parliament floor for voting in Wednesday's sitting.