Politics

Council elections delayed for third time over flu outbreak

March 18 17:59 2017

The elections commission has postponed the local council elections for the third time, claiming that the situation in the Maldives is not conducive for campaigning due to an ongoing flu outbreak.

The polls have been delayed from April 15 to May 6.

Amjad Mustafa, the electoral body’s vice president, told the press on Friday night that the Health Protection Agency advised the commission that public gatherings would cause the flu to spread.

“Elections have been delayed before due to national disasters, natural disasters. That is, due to the 2004 tsunami disaster, the parliamentary election that was due to take place then was delayed, too,” Amjad said at the impromptu press conference.

Ahmed Akram, a commission member, said some parties have complained that candidates are being told during door-to-door visits that it is difficult to welcome guests because of the flu outbreak.

Schools and state universities were closed last Tuesday on the advice of the health authorities after surveillance testing revealed that the H1N1 type of influenza virus was spreading rapidly.

However, according to statistics made public by the HPA today, the number of flu consultations nationwide has fallen from 2,334 on Tuesday to 1,549 on Friday. Health Minister Abdulla Nazim also expressed confidence last week that the flu outbreak would be brought under control within one or two weeks.

The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party meanwhile contends that the election was delayed on the orders of the government, a charge that the commission denies.

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Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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