Opposition: Government influence behind election date change

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Former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, an advisor to the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), has raised allegations of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s influence over the Elections Commission (EC) regarding the decision to postpone the parliamentary election to April 21st.

The EC held an emergency meeting on Thursday night following President Muizzu’s ratification of a bill prohibiting national elections during Ramadan. This resulted in the decision to push back the election date, originally set for March 17th – the first week of Ramadan.

Solih addressed a gathering at MDP’s party center on Friday night, asserting that President Muizzu initially delayed ratifying the bill to facilitate holding the election during Ramadan. He cited undue influence on the EC despite the bill’s eventual ratification based on the Attorney General’s advice. Solih alleged President Muizzu’s hand in the decision to schedule the parliamentary election on a non-public holiday, Sunday.

Solih emphasized that major elections traditionally occur on public holidays to maximize voter turnout, calling upon EC members to resist external pressures and maintain the institution’s independence.

Expanding on his critique, Solih characterized President Muizzu’s actions as indicative of authoritarian rule and urged voters to prevent the government from securing a parliamentary majority.

Highlighting the MDP’s broad electoral participation, with only four constituencies exempted, Solih urged the public to support the party’s candidates and emphasized the importance of party unity in the absence of coalition alliances.