Women’s development committees elected amid low turnout

Elections took place in 102 islands across the country on Wednesday for women’s development committees to function under island and city councils.

Candidates for six seats in Male’ were elected by default as only one candidate contested for the seats.

Candidates from the formerly ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) were elected to all eleven seats of the women’s committee in the capital Male’.

Turnout in the capital was however low. Of 2,013 eligible voters from the Hulhu-Henveiru district, only 223 women cast their ballots.

In other constituencies in Male’ turnouts stood at 211 out of 1,814 in mid-Henveiru, 159 out of 1,479 in Galolhu North and 142 out of 1,800 in Manchangoalhi North.

Following the election, MDP Chairperson and MP for Hulhu-Henveiru, ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik, congratulated the winning candidates and expressed gratitude to the party’s women’s wing, elections committee and secretariat for conducting a successful campaign.

MDP candidates were also elected to women’s committees in Noonu Velidhoo and Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo.

Local Government Authority (LGA) Chief Executive Officer Dr Ahmed Shukuree however told local daily Haveeru on November 4 that there were no candidates from 44 islands.

Under article 36 of the landmark Decentralisation Act (Dhivehi), the powers and responsibilities of women’s committees are: (a) Advise island council on matters related to island development and municipal services provided by the council; (b) Own properties and conduct business activities with others in the name of the committee; (c) Sue and be sued in the name of the committee; (d) Conduct various activities for income generation and for the development of women; (e) Work to uphold the rights of women; (f) Work to increase religious awareness amongst women; (g) Work to increase political participation of women; (h) Work to increase the numbers of women enrolled in higher  education; (i) Work to improve the health condition of women; (j) Gather important information related to women; (k) Manage assets and finance of the committee.