Parliament accepts sunset bill to delay council elections

Thulhadhoo MP Hisaan Hussain. (Photo/People's Majlis)

The Parliament, on Sunday, voted to accept the sunset bill by the government designed to postpone the local council elections, and forwarded it to a committee for review.

Maldives has been in a state of public health emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic since March 12, and the local council elections, which was originally scheduled for April 4, has been postponed.

The postponement, while necessary to curb the spread of the virus, will create a legal vacuum, once the term of the current councilors expires on June 3.

The Special Bill on Local Council Elections 2020, designed to postpone the elections, was submitted to the Parliament on behalf of the government by Thulhaadhoo MP Hisaan Hussain.

The bill was accepted into the Parliament with the unanimous consensus of 60 parliamentarians this afternoon.

It declares that the elections will not be held until State authorities declare there to be no cause for a public health emergency.

The bill, drafted by the Attorney General’s Office, states that the elections will be postponed the moment the bill takes effect, and the Elections Commission is required hold off organizing the elections until such time the State authorities declare the elections not be a threat to public health.

It says that the elections must be held on January 6, at the latest.

The government has also submitted a separate bill, a constitutional amendment to extend the term of current councilors until such time as an election is held to elect new councilors.