There is no legal reason why the upcoming parliamentary elections should be postponed, and a postponement would result in the State having to bear an extra MVR 20 million, says Elections Commission (EC).
Speaking during a press conference this Sunday, President of EC, Ahmed Shareef said the commission had received information of last minute attempts at postponing the upcoming elections.
He said the commission was already prepared to face any such attempts.
Shareef stressed that all parliamentary candidates and political parties were awarded the legally required duration and opportunity to campaign for the elections. He said that the EC did not have to take responsibility for failure of parties and candidates to effectively campaign during the given duration.
“We would have been liable for legal responsibility if we had failed to provide them the legally required duration. Elections Commission does not have to bear responsibility for failure to campaign,” said Shareef.
Shareef said the EC has not yet been notified of any court case who could result in the postponement of the elections. He said that no court would find grounds to issue such an order.
“There’s no legal reason why the election should be postponed. We payed special attention to the law and to avoiding getting anywhere near breaching the dates and deadlines set by law. We have been working by allowing ourselves breathing space,” said Shareef.
“There’s no room for anyone to argue a postponement to the election due to the Elections Commission failing to adhere to any specific legal obligation this time,” he added.
Shareef said the commission had been informed some people were working on submitting a case for postponement over lack of opportunity for voter registration from some of the resorts.
He said that the commission had followed the law to the letter, and that such an argument wouldn’t sell at a courthouse.
A POSTPONEMENT WILL COST MVR 20 MILLION
Shareef said the Elections Commission has completed 90 percent of its preparations for the elections. He noted that the election was run at great cost by the State, and a postponement will result in additional expenditure.
When asked by a reporter how much a postponement would cost the State, Shareef said the State would have to bear an additional MVR 20 million – half of the total budget for the parliamentary elections.
“We have now spent approximately MVR 30 million excluding payment to officials and additional expenditure on election day. So a postponement may result in an additional MVR 20 million,” said Shareef.
“This is not something we encourage under any circumstances. Neither will we accept this. We will fight this to the very end. To prevent the election from being postponed,” said Shareef.
Opposition parties, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People’s National Congress (PNC) had sent letters to Elections Commission and the Parliament in February asking for a postponement to the parliamentary elections. EC had responded that there was no legal reason for a postponement and continues to stand by its stance.
Parliamentary elections is scheduled to be held on April 6.