The Parliament has taken a significant step by passing a resolution that calls for a national referendum on the country’s system of governance to be held before October 30.
The resolution was submitted by The Democrats, a political party led by Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, a long-time advocate for a parliamentary system of governance in the Maldives. Initially, when the resolution was first presented to the parliament, the proposed date for the referendum was set for November 30. However, during a debate on the resolution in Tuesday’s session, Hulhudhoo MP Ilyas Labeeb, a prominent figure in The Democrats, suggested moving the date forward to before October 30.
Ilyas Labeeb further proposed an amendment to the resolution, allowing the parliament to directly request the Elections Commission to organize the referendum. This amendment garnered unanimous support from the parliamentary committee, composed of 35 MPs. Remarkably, after the committee’s approval, no MPs requested further debate on the resolution. Consequently, Speaker Nasheed called for a vote on the resolution, which subsequently passed with unanimous support from the 35 participating MPs.
This decision marks a pivotal moment in the Maldives’ political landscape, as it opens the door for a comprehensive examination of the country’s governance system. The referendum will provide Maldivian citizens with the opportunity to express their preferences regarding the existing system and potential alternatives. As this process unfolds, it is expected to generate vigorous debates and discussions about the country’s political future in the lead-up to the referendum date.
In related developments, the government has not yet officially commented on the resolution, and it remains to be seen how various political parties and stakeholders will position themselves on this critical issue as the referendum date approaches.
The history of the Maldives’ governance system is a central backdrop to this development. In 2007, following a referendum held during then-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s administration, the Maldives adopted a presidential system. The majority of citizens voted in favor of retaining the presidential system.