MDP warns it will take no-confidence vote against EC if election isn't postponed

Deputy Speaker Ahmed Saleem speaks during a press briefing on February 22, 2024. (Photo/Infinite Moments/Moosa Nadheem)

The main opposition MDP – which holds a majority in the Parliament – has warned it will take a no confidence vote against members of the Elections Commission (EC) if the upcoming parliamentary elections isn’t postponed until after Ramadan.

In a press briefing held by the MDP on Thursday evening, Deputy Speaker Ahmed Saleem said the party was considering what it would do if the election is held during Ramadan.

The MDP-sponsored bill banning national elections during Ramadan passed with a majority vote of 46-3 on February 11. Saleem said that the window for ratification of bill will close on February 28.

“If the bill isn’t ratified by then and is sent back to the Parliament, as the PG leader mentioned, our plan is to pass the same bill again with a greater majority,” he said.

Saleem said that if President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu still refuses to ratify the bill, then the MDP will look at what the EC’s approach is.

MDP’s parliamentary group leader, Mohamed Rasheed Hussain (Bigey) (C) speaks during a press briefing on February 22, 2024. (Photo/Infinite Moments/Moosa Nadheem)

He said that if EC ignores a directive passed twice with such a great majority and choses to hold the election in Ramadan, then it would constitute to silencing the voice of the people.

Saleem said that the MDP does not want to see anything being done against the will of the people.

“Therefore, if the Elections Commission choses to ignore legislature passed twice with a great majority of the Parliament by saying that it hasn’t been ratified, and proceeds with the Ramadan election date, then we will need to submit a no-confidence motion against the Elections Commission with the Parliament,” he said.

 The parliamentary elections is scheduled for March 17 – which falls within the first week of Ramadan – sparking concerns over a likely low voter turnout.

According to the new bill, if an election date falls within Ramadan, it must be held 10 days after Ramadan ends.

However, the legislature has yet to be ratified.