New councillors take oath of office

Some 664 newly-elected island, atoll and city councillors were sworn into office across the country on Saturday.

Judges and magistrates administered oaths of office to 575 island councillors, 66 atoll councillors and 23 city councillors. The new councils also elected presidents and vice presidents at inaugural meetings after the swearing-in ceremonies.

Shifa Mohamed, a former education minister and two-term councillors, was elected as the first female mayor of Malé City and Shamau Shareef was elected deputy mayor.

Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed Abdulla administered the oath of office to the capital’s councillors at a ceremony at the Ghiyasudheen School in Malé.

In the southernmost atolls, Abdulla Sodiq was chosen for a third term as Addu City mayor. Abdulla Falah became the first mayor of Fuvahmulah City and Mohamed Lirar was elected as his deputy.

A three-member city council was elected in Fuvahmulah after the southern island was accorded city status in September and became the Maldives’ third city.

All three mayors and deputies are from the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party, which swept the three city councils in the May 6 municipal elections. The MDP won 12 out of 13 seats on the Malé city council, all seven seats on the Addu City council and two out of three seats on the Fuvahmulah city council.

The MDP took more than 300 seats in the country’s third local council elections while the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives won 191 seats.

The PPM’s coalition partners Maldives Development Alliance won 18 seats and the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party won the Henveiru North seat in the Malé city council after the MDP candidate endorsed his opponent a week before the election.

Independent candidates also won more than 100 seats.

According to the Elections Commission, the turnout during the local council election was 66 percent of 255,987 eligible voters.

In the capital, the turnout was 42 percent, but voters came out in much higher numbers in the rest of the country.

The turnout in the January 2014 council elections was 64.5 percent, down from 70 percent in the first local council elections in February 2011.

The municipal election was first scheduled to take place on January 14, but was postponed after the PPM petitioned the civil court for a two-month delay citing the loss of its database and membership registry.

The decentralisation law required new councillors to be elected 30 days before the three-year term of local councils expired on February 26.


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Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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