MDP: There’s still room for post-Ramadan Majlis elections

Kendhikulhudhoo MP Ahmed Easa. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Ahmed Easa, the manager for the main opposition MDP’s parliamentary elections campaign, says there’s still opportunity to postpone the elections to after Ramadan.

In a press briefing on Monday, Easa, who serves as the parliamentary representative for Kendhikulhudhoo, reiterated MDP’s assertion that the vast majority of the public want the elections to be held after Ramadan.

“Ramadan is a hard month to hold such political activities and to gain a sufficient voter turnout for elections. A low voter turnout from election to election has always been a great concern for us, political parties,” he said.

The parliamentary elections is scheduled for March 17 – which falls within the first week of Ramadan.

The Elections Commission had pushed for legal reforms to hold the elections ahead of Ramadan, as the Elections Act requires the commission to initiate the process of holding the elections at least 120 days before the end of the term of the incumbent parliamentary assembly – which is May 28.

Holding the elections before or ahead of Ramadan required legal amendments.

The Parliament – which MDP holds a majority in – rejected EC’s request to hold the elections ahead of Ramadan, opting instead to have the elections held after the holy month.

An MDP-sponsored bill banning national elections during Ramadan passed with a majority vote of 46-3 on February 11.

According to the new bill, if an election date falls within Ramadan, it must be held 10 days after Ramadan ends.

However, the legislature has not been ratified by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu. The president has until Wednesday to either ratify or reject the bill.

The MDP was warned it will pass the same bill again with a greater majority, which will result in the automatic ratification of the bill.