President ratifies amendments to council election eligibility

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has ratified the amendments to Local Council Election Act passed by the People’s Majlis this week.

The amendments were made to eligibility criteria of contenders who participate in local council elections, loosening restrictions placed on former criminals.

It limits the prohibition to people convicted for rape and child abuse, and provides the right to anyone convicted of drug dealing to participate in local council election if it has been seven years since the person has completed serving his/her sentence or seven years since the person has been granted clemency.

Progressive Party of Maldives lawmaker, Holhudhoo MP Ali Mohamed, who submitted the bill to People's Majlis said it was designed to promote inclusiveness.

However, Maldivian Democratic Party alleges that the timing of the bill, so soon after most political parties have completed choosing candidates to compete in the upcoming Local Council Election was suspect.