The first amendment to the Local Council Elections Special Provisions Act, which allows voting during a state of public health emergency, has been ratified.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ratified the amendment bill on Thursday.
The bill received parliamentary approval during the third extraordinary sitting held on January 19, with 38 out of the 45 parliamentarians that took part in the vote, voting in favor.
The recently ratified bill to the Local Council Elections Special Provisions Act allows the Elections Commission to hold the Local Council and Women’s Development Committee (WDC) elections during a state of public health emergency.
Under the amendment bill, the Elections Commission is required to launch preparations for the local elections within seven days since the ratification comes into effect.
Further, it has been revealed that elections procedures must be in adherence to the instructions and safety guidelines set forth by the Director General of Public Health, Maimoona Aboobakuru.
The ratification further emphasized a set of procedures that must be followed when hosting the elections.
This comes at a time Elections Commissioner, Ahmed Shareef has stated that the elections may be held in April if the Local Council Elections Special Provisions Act is amended.
The first extraordinary sitting regarding the government-endorsed amendment submitted by MP for Hulhumalé constituency Ali Niyaz, was held on January 13, with the purpose of bringing the required legislative amendments to ensure elections are not delayed any further.
The Local Council Elections and the Women’s Development Committee elections were postponed indefinitely through a special Bill, ratified by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on 10th May 2020. The bill stated that the Local Council Elections were being postponed in light of the ongoing pandemic, and that the Council and Women's Development Committees' elections, which were originally scheduled to be held in April 2020, will take place one year after the bill’s ratification.