Following disagreements arising from Attorney General (AG) Ibrahim Riffath’s written response to a no-confidence motion, Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed is seeking an advisory opinion from the Supreme Court to address the matter.
The no-confidence motion against AG Riffath was initiated in relation to the maritime dispute between the Maldives and Mauritius and garnered support from 13 parliamentarians. The General Purpose Committee allotted two hours for debates on the motion and allocated 30 minutes for the AG to respond.
However, some members of parliament expressed discontent when AG Riffath exercised his constitutional right to provide a written response. Speaker Nasheed attempted to resolve the issue through discussions with political party leaders, but a resolution was not reached. Non-majority parties and the committee maintained that the AG should be physically present during the session to address the motion.
Speaker Nasheed referred to past instances of no-confidence motions, citing examples where Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Shaheed responded in person during a 2009 motion, while AG Aishath Azima Shakoor, in 2013, failed to attend or submit a written response due to health reasons. Additionally, former Vice President Dr. Ahmed Jameel did not present a written response to his no-confidence motion.
Furthermore, Speaker Nasheed acknowledged the opposition coalition’s stance, stating that they believe AG Riffath is entitled to respond solely through a written response accompanied by supporting documents. Consequently, he made the decision to seek an advisory opinion from the Supreme Court to ensure a proper interpretation of the Constitution when proceeding with the no-confidence motion.
AG Riffath, on the other hand, asserted that his written response was submitted within the constitutional authority granted to the AG under Article 133 of the Maldives Constitution. His response, comprising 37 points, provided a comprehensive and detailed explanation of his position.