EC files to delay local council elections with no set date

Members of the Elections Commission are pictured in a news conference. (Sun File Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Elections Commission has filed a case with the High Court of Maldives to postpone the local council elections and the women’s development committee election. The commission filed the case without a date stipulated for the elections.

Elections Commission had recently delayed the elections to be held initially on April 4 to April 18. The commission had stated that this was the extent to which it can delay the elections legally. Postponing the elections further than the date would have to be done through the court or an act of parliament, the commission had stated.

Although the governing MDP MPs have expressed opposition to the idea of delaying the election, there has been criticism by both opposition parties and governing MDP that the date of April 18 did not give sufficient time to campaign for the elections.

Calls to delay the elections have been increasing as the number of confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus in the country keeps on rising. The Maldives confirmed the 11th case of the virus today.

Authorities have introduced a state of public health emergency that has seen schools, colleges, and universities shut down. Parks, recreational areas and public squares in the Male' city area have also been temporarily closed as part of the stringent measures. The Maldives has also imposed temporary travel restrictions on Bangladesh, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, China and two regions of South Korea as well as Iran.