EC: Amendment for suspension of political parties in the works

Spokesperson and Member of the Elections Commission, Ahmed Akram. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Afrah)

Elections Commission of the Maldives has stated that it is working on an amendment to laws related to political parties that would allow the Commission to suspend political parties. 

The draft amendment is soon to be forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office. Currently, the law does not allow political parties to be suspended but provides a fine for failure to adhere to laws. 

EC Vice President Ahmed Akram said, “The Commission wishes to bring a suspension into the middle ground between fining and revoking party status. So that it is not that easy to terminate a party,”

“For instance, the law currently states that a party should hold a congress every five years, if not it can be terminated. So, the current amendment provides the party a time period for specific tasks, which if they fail to do so, they will be suspended. If the party is suspended for not holding a congress, they can only hold a congress and conduct no other political activity.” 

The amendment also states that 33 percent of party leadership seats are to be reserved for women and that funds allocated for parties would depend on the number of votes it receives, according to Akram. 

The law currently stipulates that out of the state budget, 0.01 and 0.02 percent are to be designate as expenditure for political parties. Akram said that the EC was working to distribute this amount to political parties and to oversee how parties spend these funds. 

The amendments are to be forwarded to the AG Office sometime this month, said Akram who added that a lot of easements would be brought about as a result of the amendments. He added that political parties were involved in the discussions for the amendments from the beginning and that the amendments would be forwarded to AG Office after further discussions with parties.