Nasheed’s proposals to Qasim: A constitutional referendum and vesting powers of prime minister

Jumhoory Party's leader Qasim Ibrahim captured next to Parliament Speaker, MDP's leader Nasheed at JP's congress on February 24th, 2023. (Photo/Avas)

Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) leader, Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed who is working for the upcoming presidential election through a separate political movement within his party that has decided to endorse Jumhoory Party’s (JP) presidential candidate Qasim Ibrahim has put forth a proposal of holding a constitutional referendum should Qasim win the election.

A JP member who is Qasim’s close acquittance shared the proposals put forth by Nasheed as JP and Nasheed’s ‘Fikuregge Dhirun’ discuss a coalition agreement.

One of Nasheed’s proposals, in this regard, is holding a constitutional referendum between the period of winning the election and the oath-taking of the president-elect.

It was noted that amendments should be brought to the law in order to slate a constitutional referendum for the aforesaid period.

Further proposals by Nasheed include:

  • Election of a president for a term of five years through a secret parliamentary vote
  • Vesting the president with the power to dissolve the parliament under circumstances stipulated by the law
  • Creation of the post of a prime minister in the cabinet
  • Election of a prime minister through a parliamentary vote
  • Vesting the power to dismiss the prime minister with the president and the parliament subject to a majority vote
  • Vesting the prime minister with the power to create political posts
  • Vesting the power with the prime minister to appoint individuals for political posts under the instructions of the president
  • Appointing the prime minister to represent the government in the parliament

Nasheed also put forth proposals regarding the structure of the parliament and the cabinet. In this regard, the cabinet will be chosen from the parliament; a characteristic of a parliamentary governance system.

However, Nasheed states there should be the discretion to include ministers that are appointed by the president in the cabinet which is subject to a 40 percent of the cabinet limit.

He also proposed to include the number of total parliamentarians in the People’s Majlis in the law, as well as to elect MPs through a preferential voting method.

Should these proposals by Nasheed be accepted – it will pave way for Nasheed to become the prime minister once Qasim is elected president. With this, although Qasim will serve as the head of state, Nasheed will ultimately be responsible for all policy-making and decisions.

Although these proposals have been put forth – Qasim has previously spoken against a parliamentary governance system in the Maldives.

JP is presently one of the political parties in the incumbent government. The party rarely spoke out regarding political matters and the government decisions and policies throughout past four years, however, has now become vocal against the government.

In this trajectory, the party decided to contest the upcoming presidential election independently or through a coalition headed by the party. On this note, JP has extended invitations to political parties for discussions regarding a possible coalition.