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Will dismiss EC members if Election Bill is not abided by: MDP

MDP warns EC members of expulsion if they do not follow the election postponement bill passed for the second time by parliament today.

Mariyath Mohamed
28 February 2024, MVT 19:31
Deputy Speaker Saleem.
Mariyath Mohamed
28 February 2024, MVT 19:31

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has warned that members of the Elections Commission will be expelled from their positions if they do not honour and follow the General Elections Act with the amendments brought to it that was once again passed by Parliament today despite the President having sent the bill back without ratification.

These amendments that the Parliament passed stipulate that elections will not be held during the month of Ramadan, and thus postpone any elections falling within that month to ten days after the conclusion of Ramadan.

This would, in effect, delay the upcoming parliamentary elections, currently scheduled to be held on March 17.

In a press conference held today, MDP Hoarafushi constituency MP and Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Saleem said that if the Elections Commission fails to act in accordance with the bill, they will be summoned to the parliament committee and held answerable.

"If you cannot see that happening, then know that we are ready to even go so far as to take no confidence votes against the Elections Commission," he declared.

He said that this is a vital step in bringing the country back on track.

While MDP has made these statements today, the Elections Commission has previously said that they would abide by the bill if it was passed through the parliament a second time.

As per Article 91(b) of the Constitution, any Bill returned to the People’s Majlis for reconsideration without ratification shall be ratified by the President and published in the Gazette if the Bill, after reconsideration, is passed without any amendments, by a majority of the total membership of the parliament.

As the total number of parliamentarians is 87, the majority will be reached through a minimum of 43 votes. The bill was passed today through the votes of 47 members.

During the administration of former President Mohamed Nasheed, he delayed ratification of a bill passed twice by the parliament in this same manner. Fonadhoo constituency MP at the time, and current Special Advisor the President, Abdul Raheem Abdulla, subsequently lodged a case at the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court's ruling on this case reads that unless a circumstance that is beyond human control is obstructing the matter, the President must ratify the bill without any delay.

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