The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has clarified that civil servants contesting the upcoming parliamentary elections will forfeit their posts once they file nomination papers with the Elections Commission (EC).

The parliamentary, as well as presidential, elections are considered general elections, whereas the law and regulations for candidates contesting local council elections differ.

CSC Vice-President Ibrahim Rasheed told local media that a civil service employee should effectively have resigned their position the moment they submit their forms to contest the parliamentary elections. If they do not resign on their own volition, the CSC will remove them, he said.

While the Civil Service Act required a civil servant contesting a general election to resign from their post six months prior to the date of the election, the High Court had, in 2012, squashed the requirement as unduly restrictive and unconstitutional, as it was seen to severely limit the right to contest in a general election.

The CSC, pursuant to the High Court ruling, amended the Civil Service regulations last year, stipulating that civil servants must resign from the date of submission and receipt of candidacy form by the EC.

Rasheed clarified that a civil servant would not be reinstated if they contested the parliamentary elections and lost. However, they would be eligible to apply for other positions, he said.

The rules for contesting a council election differ; the civil servant is suspended from duties from the date of form submission until the conclusion of the election. If the civil servant loses, they are allowed back into their position once the final results are announced.

The EC has not yet announced the exact date of the 2024 parliamentary elections. In the meantime, political parties are preparing for their internal primaries to finalise their nominations.