The government claims to be seeking legal advice concerning issues relating to the local council elections scheduled for October.
The President’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair said there were contradictory definitions mentioned in the decentralisation and local council acts.
For instance, Hulhudhoo and Meedhu in Addu Atoll are considered two different islands and have their own island offices, but both are located on the same land mass. Under the decentralisation act, two islands on the same land or in the same lagoon would be considered one island, Zuhair explained.
“But in the local council elections act island offices are [allocated] for every island. As a result, it is now difficult to determine on which islands councils should be established,’’ he said.
Zuhair said the Elections Commission [EC] would try to hold elections on time, regardless to the issues raised.
Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party DRP MP Abdulla Mausoom said DRP has already presented a bill to the parliament to resolve the issue.
”We will amend the law to provide power to the citizens, and we might as well amend the constitution if necessary,” said Mausoom. ”In the bill it will determine how the local councils should be established in the controversial islands of Addu Atoll and Fuvamulah.”
In May, the parliament passed legislation on local council elections. The bill was initially passed in such a way that any person who lived out of their birthplace was required to travel to their home island.
Article 4 of the first legislation passed said voters would have to be present in their island of birth or registered constituency in order to cast their ballots.
President Mohamed Nasheed vetoed the bill, claiming a large number of people from the atolls living in Male’ or “40 per cent of the population”, would be deprived of the right to vote if he ratified the bill.
President of the Elections Commission Fuad Thaufeeq did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.