Former President and Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed has urged the Elections Commission (ECM) to ensure transparent elections.
Speaking at the last sitting of the People’s Majlis before the Local Council Elections, slated for Saturday as well as the fasting month of Ramadan 1442, Speaker Nasheed urged the Elections Commission to ensure just, transparent and free elections are carried out on Saturday.
I am sure that all of the electoral proceedings will be carried out justly, including polling down to announcement of votes. These are things that require to be in accordance with the guidelines and laws, in full transparency and fairness. I do not doubt that this will be followed”Mohamed Nasheed, Former President and Majlis Speaker.
The Local Council and Women’s Development Committee (WDC) elections are slated for April 10 and currently, the commission is carrying out the final preparations for the polls.
Earlier, the commission affirmed that 735 ballot boxes will be transported to islands by Thursday and that citizens will be allowed to cast their votes, even with an expired ID card.
A total of 273,128 citizens are eligible to vote in the polls out of which 5,134 voters will be those who turn 18 by the day of the polls. This is the highest number of new voters to participate in an election, so far.
The commission earlier revealed that 3,934 candidates will be contesting for seats, including 2,264 candidates contesting for local councils and 1,670 candidates contesting for Women's Development Committees across the nation.
The Elections Commission is required to launch preparations for the local elections within seven days after the ratification of the first amendment to the Local Council Elections Special Provision Act, comes into effect. The legislation, ratified by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in January, mandates the Health Protection Agency (HPA) to establish special guidelines to safeguard against the Covid-19 pandemic, to be followed throughout the polls.
EC had passed a budget of MVR 51.1 million for the Local Council and Women’s Development Committee Elections last year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the elections were indefinitely delayed after being initially scheduled for April 4, 2020. Since the ratification of the amendment bill, EC has announced the decision to hold the elections during April 2021.