Eight new seats to be added to parliament for next general election: Elections Commission

Elections Commission (EC) President Fuad Thaufeeg has said parliament will be increased by an additional eight constituencies for the next election.

As a result, the country’s 18th parliament elected in 2014 will have 85 parliament members.

The Maldives currently has a unicameral parliament consisting of 77 members who were elected in May 2009, replacing the previous 50 member parliament following the ratification of the new constitution in August 2008.

In an interview given to local media outlet Sun Online, Thaufeeg said that based on population statisticss received by the commission, the capital Male’ and seven other atolls will have new seats in parliament.

He also said the commission is currently working on drawing up the new constituencies and completing necessary documents which will then be submitted to parliament for endorsement.

The new parliament composition will include an additional seat for Haa Dhaal Atoll, Noonu Atoll, Alif Dhaal atoll, Thaa Atoll, Gaaf Dhaal Atoll and Addu City, while Male’ City will have two new seats.

Thaufeeg stated that the current number of seats decided by the elections will not be changed, and the figure until the election will remain as 85.

The elections chief also said that the constituencies are currently complied based on geographic location and population density.

However, even though the total number of seats to be elected will remain at 85, Thaufeeg said that there may be alterations brought in as to how the commission would draw the constituencies.

“The commission will consult with leaders of political parties and people of the atolls. The decision will be final after the parliament endorses the changes,” Thaufeeg said.

The Elections Commission is meanwhile facilitating the presidential elections scheduled to take place on September 7.

The commission has previously said that approximately 240,302 will be eligible to cast their vote in the presidential elections – 31,008 more than the number of eligible voters in the 2008 presidential elections (209,294).

The commission will formally declare the start of campaign season in July. However all major political parties including the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), and government-aligned parties such as the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Jumhoree Party (JP), Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) and current President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s Gaumee Ithiaad Party (GIP) have already begun their presidential campaigns.