Elections Commission (EC) says the State will be able to save at least MVR 70 million in expenditures if the parliamentary elections and the local council elections were held together.
Members of the EC were summoned to the Parliament’s Decentralization Committee for discussions regarding legislative reforms on Thursday, September 5.
Speaking at the session, President of EC, Ahmed Shareef said the commission was fully in support of holding the parliamentary elections and the local council elections together.
He said that holding the elections together was beneficial both to the government and political parties.
“Elections Commission is leaning heavily towards holding the local council elections and the parliamentary elections together. There is currently a gap of one to two years. It planned [together], it will provide a huge relief to the State. [A relief] to us as well. And it will be easier for political parties to campaign,” said Shareef.
Shareef noted that holding the two elections together may require constitutional amendments, but that such a move would be widely beneficial in terms of savings on expenditure and the convenience.
“Combining the two elections together will result in a saving of MVR 65 million to MVR 70 million. The work rate too [will be reduced]. We will be able to serve half of our energy,” he said.
Shareef said that holding the two elections together will also allow political parties and candidates to reduce their campaign expenditure, and also allow parliamentary candidates to handpick a team of politically compatible candidates for the local councils which fall within their constituency.
He said that though he believed in the merits of holding the parliamentary elections and the local council elections together, he firmly believed the presidential election should be held separately.
He suggested that lawmakers could reform the Constitution and increase the term of local councils in order to allow the parliamentary elections and the local council elections to be held together.
While Shareef argues that combining the two elections will result in a saving of MVR 70 million, the projected expenditure for the upcoming local council elections is MVR 60 million to MVR 70 million.
KEY AMENDMENTS PROPOSED TO DECENTRALIZATION ACT: