Council Elections could happen in early March

Chairman of Elections Commission (EC) Ahmed Shareef (C) at a press conference on February 29, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Elections Commission (EC)’s chairman Ahmed Shareef, on Sunday, said the commission is discussing the possibility of holding the local council elections and the women’s development committee elections –pushed back due to the coronavirus outbreak – in March next year.

Shareef made an appearance on Public Service Media (PSM)’s show ‘Raajje Miadhu’ on Sunday night.

Shareef said the commission is engaged in unofficial discussions at this point, but that the commission members have unanimously agreed to hold the elections before Ramadan.

The beginning of Ramadan next year falls on April 12.

“We have not finalized dates. And we haven’t concluded our discussions either. But based on the situation at hand and how we are organizing our work, we are leaning more towards a date in March. Therefore, we are discussing holding the elections in early March,” said Shareef.

Shareef said that while the commission has yet to settle on a date for the elections, it will make the decision within the legally mandated timeframe.

Maldives was scheduled to hold the local council elections on April 4 but was forced to postpone the elections due to an outbreak of the new coronavirus in the country.

A constitutional amendment was made on June 2, just one day before the term of incumbent councilors would have expired, to extend their term until such time as the coronavirus situation improves enough to safely hold the elections.

The constitutional amendment was passed along with a sunset law to ensure the smooth running of the administrative districts of the country, which will significantly limit the powers of interim councilors until a fresh election is held.

It had followed another sunset law to postpone the elections as late as January 6.