The parliament’s independent institutions committee has approved amendments proposed to the Political Parties Act to set a threshold of 10,000 registered members for political parties to be eligible for state funding.
The amendments submitted on behalf of the government, by Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Azhan Fahmy, proposed abolishing or amending clauses in the political parties law that the Supreme Court had previously ruled were unconstitutional.
The amendments stipulate that a political party should have 3,000 members to register as a political party and must have and 10,000 members to be eligible for state funding.
The bill was sent to the independent institutions committee for review on March 16 and is likely to be put to a vote this week. It is likely to pass as the PPM controls a comfortable majority in parliament.
The proposed changes to the 2013 law states that parties without 3,000 members will have three months to reach the mandatory minimum number. Parties that fail to register 3,000 members will be dissolved.
The Political Parties Act previously stipulated that parties must have a minimum of 10,000 members. However, the Supreme Court struck down the provision as unconstitutional in September 2013.
The political parties law states the state must allocate 0.1 – 0.2 percent of the budget for political parties. Funds must be disbursed within the first three months of the year according to the number of members in each party.
More than MVR20 million (US$1.3 million) was allocated for political party funding in the 2015 budget. The Elections Commission disbursed the funds in June with the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) receiving MVR7 million (US$459,244).
The MDP is the largest party in the Maldives with 46,608 members, followed by the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) with 36,236 members.
There are 15 parties registered in the Maldives. Many are dysfunctional.
The parties must submit an annual report and an audit report before funds can be disbursed.