Government to draft a bill to postpone local council elections until January 2021

The government has decided to draft a special bill to allow local council elections to be postponed to January 2021.

The government decided to draft a bill to provide a legislative solution which allow local council elections to be postponed to next year in order to support the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Maldives. Once passed, the bill will become the Special Act on Local Council Elections, and will be abolished after the local council elections.

While the elections were initially scheduled for April 4, Elections Commission of Maldives (ECM) postponed the elections to April 18 following the declaration of the State of Health Emergency in Maldives amid the COVID-19 pandemic. ECM stated April 18 is the last date to conduct the elections as specified by law, adding legislative intervention is required to further postpone the elections. ECM initially submitted a constitutional case to Supreme Court of Maldives requesting the postponement of elections, although it was later withdrawn after the Parliament of Maldives assured to provide a solution to the problem.

President of ECM Ahmed Shareef said information about the bill has not yet been shared with the commission, although the discussions on the bill are expected to commence this week.