Local council elections scheduled for February 5, 2011

The Elections Commission (EC) has announced that the local council elections will take place on February 5, 2011, two months after the period stipulated in the Local Council Election Act.

EC President Fuad Thaufeeq told Minivan News today that the commission took into consideration the number of public holidays, including the end of the year school holidays, as well as the rights of candidates.

“If we ignored these holidays and conducted the local council elections, many people will experience difficulties,’’ he said.

He added that the courts and government offices would face difficulties if the EC did not take public holidays into account.

“If the commission decided if a candidate was not eligible, the person would have to file the case at the High Court and the court will determine whether he is eligible,” Fuad explained. “But if that sort of issue was raised when the courts are closed, that would be a much bigger problem. So we decided to hold the elections in February next year.’’

While the constitutional deadline for council elections elapsed in July 2009, enabling legislation for the elections was ratified by President Mohamed Nasheed on July 29, 2010.

The Local Council Elections Act stipulates that elections must take within a 122-day period after ratification.

”Dates are not applied, all the due dates have been passed,” said Fuad. “If we have to conduct it according to the deadlines we cannot do this at all.”

In accordance with the Decentralisation Act, the list of 184 administrative constituencies was published in the government gazette on Thursday.

Following the public referendum on October 9 on the government’s proposal for administrative consolidation, Addu Atoll is listed as a single island.