EC to hold discussions regarding parliament election date

From the press conference held by the Elections Commission on September 2, 2023. (Sun Photo/Maahil Athif)

Elections Commission (EC) states they are prepared to hold discussions regarding the date of the parliamentary election following parliament’s passage of the bill to amend the General Elections Act, banning national elections on Ramadan.

The Parliament, on Wednesday, passed the bill for a second time, two days after it was rejected by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu.

EC’s Vice Chairperson Ismail Habeeb told Sun that the members of the commission will hold discussions tomorrow in light of this development.

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

Habeeb, noting the EC has made all arrangements to hold the election on that date, said the commission will need to undertake additional work and bear additional expenses to postpone the election.

Additional expenses detailed by Habeeb in this regard include tents for polling stations and allowance for taskforce staff.

“Approximately MVR 1 million will be incurred for their allowances alone if they are on payroll till the end of Ramadan. A huge expense will be incurred if the contract period of our temporary staff is extended,” he said.

Habeeb added that the exact amount of the additional expenses will be examined during EC’s discussions.

The bill passed on Wednesday dictates that if an election date falls within Ramadan, it must be held 10 days after Ramadan ends.

Prior to this, EC requested the parliament to hold the election before Ramadan. However, they have also said they are prepared to postpone the election, if required.