The Elections Commission (EC) has requested a budget of MVR 14 million from the Ministry of Finance and Treasury to hold by-elections for the 12 vacated seats on the parliament.
The electoral watchdog had declared 12 lawmakers formerly of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) unseated over floor-crossing, and had allocated MVR 26 million from the state budget to hold by-elections last September. However the dispute over the alleged vacancies had drawn out in the Supreme Court, delaying the elections.
While the EC has again decided to hold by-elections, the apex court is still yet to announce a decision regarding the issue.
EC member Ahmed Akram told Mihaaru on Sunday that the commission has commenced administrative works in preparation for the by-elections. He stated that they would go ahead as soon as the funds were settled.
The 12 lawmakers that were ousted from the parliament are:
Ihavandhoo MP Mohamed Abdulla
Dhidhdhoo MP Abdul Latheef
Hanimaadhoo MP Hussain Shahudhy
Maduvvari MP Mohamed Ameeth
Thulusdhoo MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim
Dhangethi MP Ilham Ahmed
Thimarafushi MP Mohamed Musthafa
Villingili MP Saud Hussain
Thinadhoo North MP Saudullah Hilmy
Thinadhoo South MP Abdulla Ahmed
Fuvahmulah North MP Ali Shah
Machangolhi South MP Abdulla Sinan
The unseated legislators continue to assert that they were disqualified unconstitutionally, and have raised concerns over the Supreme Court’s delay in reaching a verdict regarding their disputed seats.
While the top court has not issued a ruling yet, the parliament recently passed an Anti-Defection Bill that pronounced the lawmakers disqualified. Members of the opposition had filed at the Supreme Court claiming that the bill was passed in violation of the Constitution, but the apex court ruled against annulling the new legislature.