Election Snapshot

Elections in the Maldives: 2024 Parliamentary Election


On Sunday, April 21, 2024, the Maldives will hold its parliamentary election for 93 constituencies. Over 284,663 voters may cast ballots at 602 polling stations, including three polling stations abroad.

Ahead of this important election process, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) provides Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Elections in the Maldives: 2024 Parliamentary Election. 

Learn more about IFES's programs in the Maldives and follow @IFESAsiaPacific and @IFES1987 on Twitter. 

Additionally, visit IFES's Election Guide for the most comprehensive and timely verified election information available online. 


On Sunday, April 21, 2024, the Maldives will hold its parliamentary election for 93 constituencies. Up to 284,663 registered voters will cast their ballots at 602 polling centers around the country and abroad. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Election Day was previously scheduled for March 17, 2024, during Ramadan. However, on February 29, the president ratified an amendment to the General Elections Act stipulating that the country cannot hold elections during Ramadan or until 10 days after the end of the period.


The People’s Majlis, the Maldivian Parliament, is the country’s unicameral legislative body, which passes legislation. Political affiliations have evolved since the previous parliamentary election in 2019, with splinter parties gaining more influence. Recent reconciliations between the Maldivian Democratic Party and its splinter faction, the Democrats, add a new dynamic to the political sphere. Those two opposition parties have focused their parliamentary campaigns on ensuring the accountability of President Mohamed Muizzu’s administration, while Muizzu’s Progressive Party of Maldives–People’s National Congress coalition is emphasizing the need for a cooperative Parliament to fulfill campaign promises. No political party has publicized a manifesto outlining its development vision or key pledges for the upcoming parliamentary term.

The upcoming elections hold significant importance for foreign relations, especially considering President Muizzu’s commitment to a “Maldives First” policy that prioritizes national interests and sovereignty.[1] Since Muizzu took office in 2023, several developments have been seen by some political analysts as straining relations with India. These include President Muizzu’s campaign pledge to withdraw Indian military presence; an incident on January 31, 2024, when the Indian coast guard boarded Maldivian fishing vessels in the exclusive economic zone;[2] and social media comments by three deputy ministers of the Youth Ministry criticizing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, resulting in a diplomatic dispute.[3] In this context, President Muizzu is viewed as strengthening diplomatic bonds with China, including by signing agreements to advance Chinese infrastructure projects in the islands.[4] China’s influence might become more pronounced if the coalition parties of the Muizzu Administration secure a parliamentary majority.

Other key policy areas that voters will consider include economic challenges, such as the national debt and state-owned enterprises debt, housing issues, corruption, judicial reform, and the impact of drug use and gangs on youth.[5]

[1] President Muizzu: Maldives Will Have No Foreign Military Presence. (2023, November 17). VOA.  The President’s Office. (2023, December 20).

President Dr Muizzu Announces That the RAS Malé Project Will Be Carried out without Any State Expenditures.”

[2] Reports of Indian soldiers boarding Maldivian fishing vessel within EEZ. (2024, January 31). Avas.mv.

[3] India-Maldives War of Words on Social Media Triggers Diplomatic Row. (2024, January 9). Thediplomat.com.

[4] Maldives’ Muizzu Throws in With China. (2024, January 18). Thediplomat.com.

[5] Muizzu Pledges to Provide Housing to Those Removed from Hiyaa Scheme. PSMnews.mv. Accessed March 19, 2024.


The Maldives employs a first-past-the-post majoritarian voting system. As outlined in the Parliamentary Election Act (2/2009), if more than one candidate in an electoral constituency is tied with the highest number of votes, a run-off election is required within 15 days. This process repeats until a member of Parliament is elected with the largest number of votes for that constituency.


Qualifications to contest as a parliamentary candidate in the Maldives include Maldivian citizenship, without citizenship elsewhere. All candidates must be Muslim, practice Sunni Islam, and be 18 years of age or older and of “sound mind.” Naturalized citizens must wait five years after acquiring Maldivian citizenship to contest parliamentary elections and must be domiciled in the Maldives.

Candidates are disqualified if they have unpaid decreed debt, have been convicted of a criminal offense with a sentence exceeding 12 months, were released or pardoned for a criminal offense within the last three years, or are active members of the judiciary.


The Maldives has no legal framework for reserving seats for women in the 2024 parliamentary election. Although local government elections have a 33 percent quota for women, no quotas have been established at the national level. Four women currently serve as members of Parliament.

Of the 369 candidates running for election, 43 (11.6 percent) are women.


Article 69 of the General Elections Act states candidates may not spend more than 2,000 Maldivian rafiyaa (MVR), or approximately $130 USD for each individual eligible to cast a vote in the contested constituency. The number of registered voters per electoral constituency will not exceed 5,000. The expenditure ceiling for candidates differs according to the size of the constituency, but the maximum is 10 million MVR (approximately $650,000).     

Article 70 of the General Elections Act prohibits the provision of financial or material assistance for or in association with a candidate’s campaign by foreign individuals, agencies, governments, or organizations; international organizations; anonymous contributors; public bodies (other than assistance legally provided by the state to political parties); and any company or entity in which the government holds a stake.


The Elections Commission of Maldives (ECM) is working to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to the electoral process. It is doing so by providing facilities and assistance at polling stations to enable people with disabilities to vote independently, ensuring polling stations are accessible to voters with physical disabilities, and making the voter education awareness materials it disseminates accessible to persons with disabilities.

The General Elections Act includes stipulations for voters who request accommodations. Specifically,

  • Voters who are physically unable to mark a ballot paper by themselves may receive assistance from another individual, and
  • Voters who have visual impairments and wish to vote without assistance can vote using a braille template ballot paper.

The ECM has announced the introduction of two templates for individuals with visual disabilities to be used in the parliamentary election. A custom template will be provided for voters with visual disabilities who registered for accessible templates; a standard template, featuring eight check boxes, will be available at every polling station for voters with visual disabilities who did not register for the custom template. The custom template will have a number of check boxes cut out to correspond to the number of candidates contesting the election in a given constituency. On the standard template has, all eight check boxes are cut out. Since no more than eight candidates will contest the election in any constituency, the standard template can be used in any administrative division. The ECM also extended the deadline to register for accessible templates to February 20, 2024; 61 voters with visual disabilities registered.

The ECM also announced that one seat on the advisory committee for the parliamentary election would be allocated to a person with disabilities. This seat was awarded to the Disability Council of the Maldives. This decision ensures that the perspectives and needs of persons with disabilities are represented in election planning and implementation, promoting inclusivity and equal participation in the electoral process.


Section 32(f) of the General Elections Act states that the safety of voting stations, both before voting commences and until all activities relating to voting has ended, are the responsibility of the country’s national security services.


Official results must be announced within seven days after Election Day.


The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has supported the implementation of inclusive elections in the Maldives since 2015. IFES currently implements the Strong and Inclusive Maldivian Democracy program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). IFES’ work on this program includes strengthening the Maldives’ civic education curriculum; empowering women with disabilities as leaders and advocates; empowering women to participate in political and electoral processes through the Vaané campaign; and supporting the Election Commission of the Maldives’ civic education outreach.


These FAQs reflect decisions made by the Election Commission of the Maldives as of April 9, 2024, to the best of our knowledge. This document does not represent any IFES policy or technical recommendations.

This document is made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID. The information in these FAQs is provided by the author(s) and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.