On Monday, minority parties in the parliament expressed their concerns over the inability to form standing committees due to the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) refusing to make any compromises on the matter. This has led to a stalemate within the parliament. In addition, two no-confidence motions have been submitted, bearing the signatures of MDP lawmakers, targeting the removal of Mohamed Nasheed from the position of speaker and Eva Abdulla from the position of deputy speaker.
Secretary General Fathimath Niusha informed MPs on Thursday that the motion to remove Eva as deputy speaker has been temporarily halted in accordance with regulations, as the reconstitution of committees has not taken place following changes in the number of members representing political parties in the parliament. The parties have failed to reach an agreement on the composition of parties and independent MPs within the committees.
MDP has accused the speaker of intentionally delaying the reconstitution of the committees, asserting that no other cases can be addressed in the parliament until a decision is made on the no-confidence motions. However, the secretary general stated that the formation of the committees was put on hold following a request made by MDP’s parliamentary group leader, Mohamed Aslam. Aslam, on the other hand, denies this claim and states that MDP could not agree on the proposal to form certain committees, insisting that the party should have a majority in every committee.
The minority parties argue that the deadlock in committee formation and the halt in parliamentary proceedings are a result of MDP’s desire to have pro-government MPs in the committees. Ali Azim, the Central Henveiru MP who is now an independent member and works closely with Nasheed on registering The Democrats party, pointed out that a previous vote on the new composition of committees was postponed due to MDP’s preference. Azim emphasized that MDP had a majority in each committee with percentages of 53% and 58% but chose not to proceed at the time, leaving the reasons for this decision unknown.
When asked about MDP’s claims regarding Eva’s case, Azim expressed his belief that the matter cannot be taken up without the reconstitution of committees. He stated that unless the general committee makes a decision on it, it cannot be included on the agenda.
Echoing similar sentiments, Ali Hussain, the Kendhoo MP representing the Jumhooree Party, described the committee stall as a deliberate attempt by the government to silence the voices of minority groups in the parliament. He accused the government of planning and executing these actions to suppress opposition against their policies. Hussain highlighted that MDP initiated the no-confidence motion against the speaker in a manner that could potentially result in a deadlock, without considering the limited timeframe remaining in the current term, which ends at the end of the month.
According to Article 33 of the parliament’s rules of procedure, the representation percentage of parties in the committees and the appointment of committee members should be decided after consultation with the leaders of the political parties represented in parliament. Article 129 states that members will be nominated to committees by the parliamentary group leader of the respective political parties. The speaker is entrusted with safeguarding the interests of independent MPs.