President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has today ratified Law No. 5/2020, which is intended to ensure the continued functioning of decentralized government within the Maldives. The newly ratified Act delineates the powers and expected conduct of council members who remain in office in an interim capacity.

The Act will supplement both Law No. 3/2020, which allows for the Local Council Elections scheduled to be held in April this year to be delayed until they can be held safely - and the amendments made earlier today to Article 231 of the Maldives' Constitution, which allow incumbent city, atoll and island councilors to temporarily remain in office beyond their electoral-tenure, under exceptional circumstances.

All of the above legislative measures were necessitated by the impractical nature of holding elections during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, while the country remains under a State of Public Health Emergency. Collectively, the constitutional amendment and supplementary legislation will ensure that decentralized government continues to function without practical interruption or legal obstacle during the pandemic.