The Edition
facebook icon twitter icon instagram icon linkedin icon


Motion passed to commence elections after Ramadan; ruling party members unsupportive

The parliament has approved the ammednment of postponing the parliamentary elections to 10 days after the month of Ramadan today. This motion was passed by the votes of MDP and the Democrats.

Aishath Shuba Solih
12 February 2024, MVT 08:33
A ongoing parliamentary sitting
Aishath Shuba Solih
12 February 2024, MVT 08:33

The parliament has voted in the amendment to the General Elections Act to commence the parliamentary elections 10 days after the approaching month of Ramadan through the votes of opposition MDP (Maldives Democratic Party) and The Democrats coalition members.

The amendment proposed by MDP parliamentarian of the Ihavandhoo Constituency, Mohamed Shifau was approved with the votes of 46 members who attended today’s parliament session. While 3 parliamentarians voted against the amendment, most members of the state had abstained from voting.

State parliamentarians had also refrained from voting to initially accept the amendment.

As announced by the Elections Commission (EC), the elections to determine the new term of the parliament was initially settled to be held on 17th March. However, as this date falls within the month of Ramadan, political parties had expressed extreme concerns on holding an election during that time.

Following their meeting with EC, the interim committee who had studied the amendment on ceasing elections during Ramadan had concluded that they acknowledge the motion to postpone the election.

The amendment proposed by Ihavandhoo Constituency parliamentarian, Mohamed Shifau had put forth an amendment to Article 43 of the Constitution. The amendments dictate that no elections may be held in Ramadan and if the date in the constitution falls into Ramadan, the elections must be postponed and held 10 days after Ramadan.

If a situation hinders from performing as stated under the General Elections Act, the time periods dictated by the constitution must be altered and new deadlines must be set by EC in order to avoid holding elections during Ramadan, it says.

A ongoing parliamentary sitting

The amendment also allows the approval of a ballot that has a tick near the candidate’s name.

While the current parliamentary term is due to end on May 28, 2024, the law stipulates that work on holding parliamentary elections must be commenced 120 days prior to this date. When aligned with the stipulations in the law, the election date falls on or around March 17, making it legally obligatory to hold the elections during that time.

Speaking at a meeting of the parliament's Committee on Independent Institutions yesterday, EC Vice President Ismail Habeeb said that there are concerns that if the ten day delay is put in to effect, the elections may be postponed beyond the permitted duration stipulated in the Constitution. He maintained that the constituency stipulates the election to be held 30 days prior to the end of the term and all the related matters must be concluded in that time frame along with announcing the elected parliamentarians.

"When the bill says 10 days after Ramadan, that barely allows us enough time to complete this within the 30 days stipulated in the Constitution. We will be getting only 6 days for vote counting and announcement of results. We do not even get 7 days," said Habeeb.