MVR 49.1 million allocated for Local Council Elections

Poll workers count ballots in the Bar Council Election on July 13, 2019. (Photo/Sun/Ahmed Awshan Ilyas)

The government has allocated MVR 49.1 million for the Local Council Elections in the proposed state budget for the upcoming year.

While a date for the postponed Local Council Elections has yet to be finalized, Elections Commission has recently announced preparations are underway to hold the elections in March.

The government presented the proposed state budget of MVR 34.79 billion for the coming year to the Parliament on Monday morning. It includes an allocation of MVR 49.18 million for the Local Council Elections.

The allocation is MVR 31.5 million higher than the original MVR 17.6 million budget allocation approved for the Local Council Elections.

The Local Council Elections was originally scheduled to be held on April 4 this year, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elections Commission member Fuad Thaufeeq recently stated in a TV interview that the commission may have to increase polling stations to ensure social distancing is maintained during voting, and that it will require budget changes.

The Local Council Elections will see the election of 980 councilors to island, city and atoll councils across Maldives. Some 2,400 candidates had applied to run in the elections.

Following the postponement of the elections, the Constitution was revised and sunset laws enacted to allow an extension to the term of incumbent councilors, in order to avoid a legal vacuum.