The National Advisory Committee on Monday advised the Maldives electoral watchdog to withdraw its appeal of the lower court’s verdict to postpone the Local Council Elections by two months and to announce a new elections date again.
The Civil Court had ordered to postpone the Local Council Elections, originally scheduled to be held January 14, by two months after ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) had filed for a delay, saying that recent political disputes within the party had hindered PPM’s preparations for the elections on time. The Civil Court had ruled in favour of PPM, but the Elections Commission (EC) had declared that delaying the elections would be a violation of the Constitution and subsequently appealed the Civil Court’s verdict at the High Court, seeking a reversal.
However, the High Court is currently in recess and has not commenced the appeal process.
The EC informed all political parties on Monday that the elections cannot be held on its original date of January 14.
Commenting on the EC’s announcement, main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) stated that the EC is altering its plan in order to avoid more legal issues as the commission can no longer grant the campaign period of 28 days, mandated in the Constitution, after announcing the candidates.
According to EC member Ahmed Akram, the National Advisory Committee, which comprises representatives of political parties and authorities of the local elections, had raised concerns over the elections delay during a meeting with EC on Monday. Akram said that the committee had counselled to withdraw the appeal from the High Court and announce a date for the elections again to solve the matter.
“We said that the commission will think on the suggestion and make a decision,” said Akram.
In addition to MDP, opposition Jumhoory Party and religiously conservative Adhaalath Party have also raised concerns over the local elections delay.
Meanwhile, the Civil Court had stated in its court order that proceeding with the elections such that PPM, currently the largest political party in the Maldives, cannot take part would be a violation of democratic policies, damaging the common interests of the state.