MDP to hold primary for local council election in December

MDP leader, former President Mohamed Nasheed (L) with Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (C). (File Photo/President's Office)

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s leader, former President Mohamed Nasheed has announced the ruling party will hold the primary to select its candidates for the Local Council Election in December.

The announcement was by Nasheed at a press conference at the Maldivian’s Seaplane Terminal following the launch of the ‘Beyya’ t-shirt movement this Saturday morning.

Speaking at the press conference, Nasheed, who won his bid for re-election as MDP’s leader last Friday, said that the party had many capable members who wished to run in the Local Council Election.

He said that the MDP was scheduled to hold its primary in December, and expressed confidence over the level of the party’s preparedness for the Local Council Election – which is scheduled for April 4, 2020.

The Maldivian government is pushing key legislative and constitutional amendments pertaining to the running of local councils ahead of the election.

Amendments to Section 8 of the Constitution:

  • Establishing that mayors and deputy mayors of city councils, and presidents and vice presidents of island councils need to be elected directly through a secret ballot taken among constituents.
  • Establishing that atoll councils must be composed of island council presidents from each atoll in order to improve representation of all local islands within atoll councils.
  • Extending the term of councilors from three years to five years.

Amendments to Decentralization Act:

  • Establishing that 33 percent of each council must be composed of women councilors.
  • Allocating five percent of state income to local councils.
  • Distributing 40 percent of the lease income earned from land, water and reef areas which do not fall within the boundary of any specific council among all local councils.
  • Authorizing local councils with the right to charge fees and lease for its services.
  • Authorizing local councils to run PSIP projects valued below MVR 5 million.
  • Authorizing local councils to provide public services such as water, electricity and sanitation.
  • Authorizing local councils with a say over appointment of in-charges to the council.
  • Allocate a separate budget for women’s development committees and allocate salaries for committee members.

Maldivian government says the amendments are designed to improve the management of administrative divisions of the government in accordance with a decentralized system of governance, and empower local councils.