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Maldives: Ratifying Decentralisation Bill Wise, Hesitant to Sign Local Council Elections Bill - President
Source: haveeru.com.mv
Source Date: Thursday, May 06, 2010
Focus: Citizen Engagement
Country: Maldives
Created: May 10, 2010

President Mohamed Nasheed on Wednesday has said it is “wise” to ratify the Decentralisation Bill but not the Local Council Elections Bill.

Speaking in a meeting held at artificial beach by the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), President Nasheed said the main target of the party’s manifesto is to render all the powers to the people’s hands and added that the government presented the Decentralisation Bill to achieve that target.

But now that the bill is amended it is unlikely for MDP to succeed, he added.

President Nasheed noted that the decentralisation bill was passed after the government proposed it for a second time, exceeding a constitutional deadline to set-up local councils.

More delays would further compromise people power, he added

“... So I believe it would be wise to ratify the Decentralisation Bill in the way passed by the parliament,” he said.

But President Nasheed said the Local Council Elections Bill had many issues.

The large number of people from the atolls who are living in Male should not be deprived of the right to vote in the elections, he said.

“... We need to amend the law. So I need to think more about ratifying the second bill [Local Council Elections Bill],” he added.

While the most powerful in islands are the employed youths, passing any law that does not give them the right to vote in an election is unconstitutional, the President argued.

“I am confident that this bill [Local Council Elections Bill] is against the constitution. Its intention is not good,” he said.

When he competed in an election for the first time, most number of votes came from migrant residents of Male, President Nasheed noted.

He added that the majority of votes MDP received in the 2008 presidential election were also from islanders living in Male.

Making law to deprive 40 percent of the population of their right to vote is against the constitution and Islamic Sharia, the President argued.

“...This was passed in that evil objective; to rip 40 percent of eligible voters off their right to vote...,” President Nasheed said.

“I could not ratify such a bill...The parliament’s decision was a deceptive plan. MDP will get 50,000 votes. It was a deceptive plan to prevent these people from voting. I cannot give a chance to the plan. It is something that I should not do.”
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