Minister Shahid announces support for a presidential system

Maldivian Foreign Minister and President of the 76th UNGA, Abdulla Shahid. (Photo/Xinhua)

Maldivian Foreign Minister, President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (PGA) Abdulla Shahid, on Tuesday, has announced support for a presidential system as the governing system of the Maldives.

He has expressed support for a presidential system at a time Parliament Speaker, main ruling party, Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) Leader Nasheed has submitted a resolution to MDP’s congress scheduled for 19th of this month on holding a constitutional referendum to switch the governing system from a presidential system to a parliamentary system.

Via a tweet, Shahid said that he supports the election of a government and the head of a government by the direct vote of the people – whereas the parliament should have legislative powers and the responsibility to make the government accountable.

“I support the election of a government and the head of a government by the direct vote of the people. Legislative powers, and responsibility to make the government accountable being bestowed on the parliament. The judiciary being responsible to ensure justice. Leaders having the attribute of adhering to laws,” he had said.

Apart from Shahid, cabinet ministers that have spoken out against a parliamentary system so far include Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail and Home Minister Imran Abdulla.

In this regard, Imran said that parliamentary system is not the most suitable governance system for the Maldives. He added that if the parliamentary system is brought to place as the current situation stands – political stability will be lost, whereas the government will change frequently.

Meanwhile, Fayyaz said that issues such as corruption can be decreased in a presidential system compared to that of a parliamentary system.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Tuesday, requested Nasheed to withdraw his resolution citing that the current situation of the Maldives was not right to hold a constitutional referendum to change the governance system.

In an earlier statement, he has however stated that the governance system can only be changed through a constitutional referendum.

The last time a constitutional referendum was held in the Maldives was back in 2007 – during former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom’s administration. Back then, 92 percent of the voters favored a presidential system.