An emergency motion has been submitted to Parliament concerning delays in the ratification of a crucial amendment to the General Elections Act, which would see the upcoming Parliamentary Elections delayed until the end of Ramadan. This motion, urging ratification of the amendment aimed at postponing the parliamentary elections until ten days after the end of Ramadan, was introduced by Ungoofaaru constituency MP Mohamed Waheed, a member of The Democrats.

Despite receiving approval on 12 February, the amendment awaits ratification from the President. The delay has sparked concerns among lawmakers and the public, given the lack of communication on the bill’s status. MP Waheed has criticised the government’s approach, suggesting that the delay serves personal interests, especially as the President continues to advocate for elections on 17 March.

The emergency motion highlights the bipartisan support for the amendment, noting that its non-ratification could disrupt citizens’ lives. The amendment, initially proposed by MDP MP Mohamed Shifau, garnered the support of 46 members, with a notable abstention from most government-aligned MPs. It seeks to add clauses to Article 43 of the General Elections Act, prohibiting the scheduling of elections during Ramadan and mandating a delay if an election date falls within the holy month.

Meanwhile, the opposition Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) has announced a boycott of the election advisory committee. This decision stems from disagreements over the scheduling of the parliamentary elections during Ramadan, a stance that the Elections Commission (EC) seems intent on maintaining despite opposition.

The EC, under Chairman Fuwad Thowfeek, has defended the 17 March election date, asserting that democracy does not favour changing announced election dates. Thowfeek outlined the challenges of finding a practical date within the statutory deadline that does not coincide with Ramadan or conflict with the academic calendar. Despite these considerations, the parliamentary bill to avoid elections during Ramadan was passed, highlighting a significant divide between legislative actions and the EC’s operational decisions.

MDP’s deputy chairman Ibrahim Waheed has criticised the EC’s decision, accusing it of acting on President Muizzu’s wishes against broad advisory recommendations to postpone the elections until after Ramadan. This accusation is bolstered by requests from the Civil Service Commission and other parties for a delay, which have been seemingly overlooked by the EC.