President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on Sunday ratified the first and second amendments to the Presidential Elections Act, and the first amendment to the Elections General Act.
The first amendment to Presidential Elections Act, proposed by ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)'s parliamentary group (PG) leader and Villimale MP Ahmed Nihan, conditions candidates in the run for presidency to have a 10-year gap following dual citizenship, in order to contest in the presidential elections.
Article 109 of the Constitution states that a candidate running for presidency must be a Maldivian citizen born to parents who are Maldivian citizens, and is also not a citizen of a foreign country. However, the Constitution does not state a fixed period to give up citizenship in a foreign country prior to the candidacy run.
Nihan had declared that the amendment was proposed to maintain sovereignty in the country and to ensure that no foreign countries can influence the Maldives.
The passing of the amendment bars two opposition leaders from contesting in the run for presidency.
The second ratified amendment to the Presidential Elections Act is a raise to the presidential candidacy deposit fee from MVR 40,000 to MVR 100,000.
President Yameen also ratified the amendment to the General Elections Act to prohibit scribbling or drawing on ballot papers besides the check mark next to the name of a candidate.
The ratified amendments were passed unanimously by the parliament last week with the vote of all 34 lawmakers present at the sitting. Opposition has been boycotting parliamentary sittings after it was resumed for the second session. Thus, all 34 lawmakers were of ruling coalition PPM and Maldives Development Alliance (MDA).