Elections Commission close to exhausting budget

Elections Commission chairman Fuad Thaufeeq. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Elections Commission’s chairman Fuad Thaufeeq told the Parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee on Monday that the commission was close to running out of its budget due to having to hold multiple by-elections for women's development committees. 

Fuad said that three to four members resigned from WDCs each month, and that holding by-elections to fill the positions was costly. 

“Three or four seats are vacated each month. Each by-election costs around MVR 150,000,” he said. 

Fuad said that the Elections Commission, when it asks for additional budgeting to hold the elections, are advised by the Finance Ministry to submit a lower budget.  

He said that holding the elections with a lower budget makes it harder. 

Fuad said that the work of Elections Commission employees has doubled with having to hold the WDC by-elections, but the number of employees at the commission has remained the same over the last 14 years. 

“There has been no change to the number of staff we have. Not even two additional employees each year. But the work has doubled and tripled,” he said. 

Fuad said that the Elections Commission can hold the by-elections, but needs the budget. 

“Finance Ministry has instructed us to hold the elections using the funds allocated for administrative expenses. At this rate, we will completely run out of budget in July or August,” he said. 

Elections Commission has stated that it has total MVR 1.5 million allocated to hold by-elections, and has already spent MVR 1.4 million on WDC by-elections.