President ratifies amendments to Decentralization Act

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ratifies amendments to Decentralization Act on December 15, 2019. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Muzain Nazim)

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has ratified the amendments to Decentralization Act passed by the Parliament earlier this December.

The amendments were ratified during the Viyavathi Rajje Symposium which began at the Crossroads Maldives this Sunday.

The amendments, which includes empowering the Local Government Authority (LGA) to suspend councilors, was passed with the vote of 76 parliamentarians on December 5.

The provision regarding suspension of councilors states that the LGA must establish an inquiry commission which will probe councilors for misconduct. The inquiry commission is required to present the case report to LGA, which will review the report, and warn councilors to rectify their behavior if necessary. LGA has the authority to suspend councilors for up to three months if they fail to rectify their behavior.

It also establishes that 33 percent of council seats must be reserved for women, and establishes that each local council must have at least five councilors.

Islands with populations below 3,000 must have five-member councils, two of whom must be women; while islands with populations above 3,000 must have seven-member councils, three of whom must be women.

Additional amendments pertain to awarding greater autonomy, including financial autonomy to councils.