EC: Difficult to hold parliament election after Ramadan, but will respect parliament’s decision

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

Elections Commission (EC)’s Vice Chairperson Ismail Habeeb, underscoring there will be difficulties if the 2024 parliamentary election is to be after Ramadan, has stated the commission, will nevertheless, respect the parliament’s decision.

Last week, EC proposed to the Parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee that the Parliament make legal amendments to push up the election date to before Ramadan. However, the Committee, on Sunday, decided to recommend EC to have the election postponed to after Ramadan.

Commenting on the decision, Habeeb told Sun that EC’s aim was to facilitate the voting opportunity for as many people as possible.

“If (the election) is to be held after Ramadan, it will coincide with the Eid holidays. Many people will travel to various places. Moreover, we will also place ballot boxes in foreign nations,” he said.

Habeeb, expressing concern over the high possibility of low voter turnout if the elections are held after Ramadan, stressed the candidates will also face difficulties. In this regard, he detailed that candidates will have to undertake their campaign during the end of Ramadan.

“Despite these difficulties, we will respect the parliament’s recommendation,” he added.

Speaking further, Habeeb, noting EC has not yet made a decision regarding the parliament’s recommendation, said the commission will finalize a date for the election following their meeting.

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

The law dictates that the EC must initiate the process of holding the elections 120 days before the current parliamentary term expires.

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