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Maldives: Govt Looks to Amend Decentralization Act Before Polls
Source: http://www.haveeru.com.mv
Source Date: Sunday, November 24, 2013
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs
Country: Maldives
Created: Nov 26, 2013

Spokesperson at the president’s office Ibrahim Muaz said the under the present decentralization Act the same number of councilors need to be elected for islands with a population of 400 people and 2,000 people. Such a clause is a major strain on the State budget, Muaz said. “However, the president’s thinking is not to cut-down on the number of councilors. But to elect councilors based on the population of the islands. This is a move to curb State expenditure,” he said. According to the decentralization Act, five council members need to be elected for islands with less than 3,000 people whilst seven members will be elected for islands with a population of over 3,000. For city councils, one councilor from each constituency needs to be elected. Muaz said president Abdulla Yameen had held discussions with lawmakers representing the ruling coalition over amending the decentralization Act. However, Muaz said he was unaware whether the president had met the parliamentary group of opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee has passed major amendments to the decentralization Act including not to hold a separate elections for Atoll councils.


Chair of the parliamentary national security committee Hulhu-Henveiru MP Moosa Manik said Saturday, that despite the amendments passed by the committee, the local council elections slated for next January may not be able to incorporate the changes. The amendments passed by the committee need to be passed by the parliament and ratified before it can become law. The amendments to the decentralization include not holding a separate election for Atoll councils and to elect members from the island councils to the Atoll councils. The change was made following a proposal made by the local government authority, Moosa said. The amendments will help cut-down state expenditure, he added. To designate the president of the women’s committee as a member of the island council and declaring an island with 10,000 people or more as a city, were also passed by the committee. Presently a city is declared for islands with 25,000 people or more. A total of 1,118 candidates need to be elected during the polls slated for January 18 to the island, Atoll and City councils. In that regard, 975 people for island councils, 120 for Atoll councils, 11 for Male city council and six for Addu city council will be elected during the polls.

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