EC seeks to have 2024 parliamentary election held before Ramadan

Elections Commission (EC)'s Vice President Ismail Habeeb speaks at a press conference on September 29, 2023. (Sun Photo/Maahil Athif)

Elections Commission (EC) proposed to the Parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee on Tuesday to hold the 2024 parliamentary elections ahead of Ramadan.

The term of the current parliamentary assembly expires on May 28.

Ismail Habeeb, the vice chairman of EC, told the committee that the law dictates that the commission must initiate the process of holding the elections 120 days before the current parliamentary term expires.

He said that this means next year’s elections must be held on March 19 – which falls within the holy month of Ramadan.

He said that holding the elections during Ramadan would pose major challenges to hiring and training poll workers, and for candidates to hold their campaigns.

Habeeb also noted that schools were set to hold mock exams for the O-levels during that period – which would leave the commission unable to use school halls and classrooms for the elections.

The EC asked the Parliament to revise the law to allow the elections to be held ahead of Ramadan. The commission suggested there are two ways the law could be revised.

  • Holding the elections on March 9 by shortening the window between the announcement of the list of candidates to the elections from 30 to 20 days.
  • Pushing up the election date extending the window for announcement of the election from 120 to 140 days.

The committee has decided it will seek the input of political parties before making such changes.