Shahid: Election being held in Ramadan to take away the right of many to vote

MDP's leader Abdulla Shahid. (Photo/MDP)

Abdulla Shahid, the leader of the main opposition MDP, has accused the government of pressuring the Elections Commission (EC) to hold the parliamentary elections in Ramadan – a move which he said was aimed at taking away the right of many to vote.

In an interview to RaajjeTV on Tuesday night, Shahid said that the EC has stated it is forced to hold the elections in Ramadan.

“… not forced. Elections Commission cannot be forced. The Elections Commission is defined in our Constitutions as an independent and autonomous institution in order to free it from coercion,” he said.

 Shahid said that the EC is getting pressured from the government. He said that it was due to government pressure that the commission decided to hold the elections during Ramadan.

Shahid said that many people will find it hard to go and vote during Ramadan. He said the decision therefore infringes on the right of many to vote.

Noting that the government has stated that it prioritizes and encourages religious practices and observances during Ramadan, Shahid questioned the motive behind wanting to hold the elections during the holy month.

“The motive is to steal the right of many to vote. To have many not vote,” he said.

The parliamentary elections is scheduled for March 17 – which falls within the first week of Ramadan. While the Parliament recently passed legislature banning elections during Ramadan, it has yet to be ratified by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu.