Health Protection Agency (HPA) announced new Covid-19 rules will be drafted to accommodate campaign activities for the upcoming local council and women’s development committee elections.
Election Commission raised concerns and asked HPA for special concessions over mandatory quarantine for candidates and electoral officials.
During a meeting held by Parliament’s Independent Institutions Committee, Election Commission’s vice chairman Ismail Habeeb warned about court cases which may arise due to lack of equal campaign opportunities.
Director General of Public Health Maimoona Abubkar replied by saying HPA has yet to permit any election campaign. “We have yet to allow any party to campaign as candidates. I, therefore, fail to understand why you said that”, she said. “The opportunity is open for all parties in accordance with the guidelines”, she added.
Director General Maimoona said the current guidelines was drafted to accommodate election campaigns without comprising public health and safety.
Committee chair, MP Rozaina Adam highlighted candidates running for atoll councils would need to travel to islands to properly campaign. “I believe under these circumstances, you need to prepare guidelines that can facilitate campaign activities’, she said. Furthermore, she said she does not believe the committee members will accept the current guidelines provided by HPA and asked them to draft new guidelines to submit it to the committee by March 11, to which the Director General agreed.
Local Council Elections are set to be held on 10th of April.