The nomination period for the upcoming 2024 Parliamentary Elections will commence on 30 January, the Elections Commission of Maldives (ECM) has revealed. The nomination period, which provides potential candidates with an opportunity to file their nomination papers, will conclude on 14 February, according to the ECM.

Confirming these dates to Maldives Republic, Ismail Habeeb, the Vice Chairman of ECM, underscored the importance of all eligible individuals’ adherence to these specified dates to ensure an efficient and seamless electoral process. The ECM also announced on Wednesday that the parliamentary vote is scheduled for 17 March, coinciding with the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

The tenure of the incumbent 19th parliament, comprising 87 lawmakers, is set to conclude on 28 May 2024. The 20th parliament will witness an increase in representation, with an additional six members, bringing the total number of seats to 93. The ECM has also published the electoral roll, which lists 284,327 eligible voters, comprising 139,165 women and 145,162 men.

Voters can submit objections regarding any discrepancies in the electoral roll before the deadline on 21 January in order to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the upcoming election, the ECM said.

Earlier, the ECM urged all candidates and political parties participating in the upcoming elections to prioritise completing documentation on criminal records and financial status, as these records are required to be filed along with the nomination papers. Political parties should accord priority to ensuring the verification of the records of their respective candidates, Habeeb earlier told political parties, which would significantly facilitate the work of the ECM.

Amidst the political fervour surrounding the upcoming parliamentary vote, Habeeb reiterated his call on all political parties to ensure transparency, fairness, and adherence to democratic principles in their internal primaries.

“In the pursuit of democracy, the right to vote is a privilege that must be guaranteed for every member. Inclusivity is key, allowing participation from all members, irrespective of rank or role. Above all, fairness must be the cornerstone of the process, ensuring an unbiased platform for every candidate,” Habeeb said about internal primaries of political parties in a previous interview with Maldives Republic. “A system must be in place to hold individuals accountable for their actions during the election process, while an independent body must be appointed to oversee the election process to ensure it is conducted properly. Election monitors and observers must be allowed to do their part without hindrance.”