MDP lawmakers protest at Parliament; refuse to stop until case lodged with SCourt

MDP lawmakers protest at the Parliament on October 29, 2023.

Lawmakers from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) continue to protest at the Parliament, after the no-confidence motion against Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, which had been scheduled to be heard on Sunday was thwarted.

They warn that they will continue to protest until they lodge a petition with the Supreme Court over the issue.

The Parliament had been scheduled to hear the no-confidence motion against Nasheed on Sunday. However, Deputy Speaker Eva Abdulla, Nasheed’s cousin and fellow Democrats member, called in sick.

Nasheed, who has been given 30 minutes to speak in his defense during the debate, did not attend the sitting either.

The Parliament’s Secretary-General Fathimath Niusha decided to ask Eva to attend Monday’s sitting, and postpone the motion to until then.

The Parliament’s Standing Orders dictate that in situations where a no-confidence motion has been submitted against the Speaker, sitting must be presided over by the Deputy Speaker. It does not offer a solution to a situation where the Deputy Speaker is indisposed of.

It instructs the Parliament to follow the protocols of other countries that practice the presidential system in situations where the Standing Orders does not provide explicit guidance.

While Sunday’s sitting ended at 09:30 am, MDP lawmakers remain at the chambers, protesting their displeasure.

The MDP has accused Nasheed of deliberately blocking the motion, and said they would lodge a petition with the Supreme Court over the issue later Sunday.

The protesting lawmakers allege the cancellation of the sitting was part of a plan. They are also demanding the resignation of the Parliament’s secretary-general and counsel general.

In an interview to RaajjeTV, Addu Meedhoo Rozaina Adam said that the Parliament’s Standing Orders allow for another MP to preside sittings in situations where both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker are indisposed of.

Rozaina said she therefore finds the decision to cancel the sitting unacceptable.

“We already knew Eva wouldn’t come,” she said.

“If the Parliament’s presidency cannot assign a person to preside sittings, the secretary general empowered by the Standing Orders to assign someone.”

Rozaina accused Eva of colluding with Nasheed to thwart the no-confidence motion.

A number of lawmakers from the MDP remain at the chambers. They say they will not leave until a petition is lodged with the Supreme Court.

The MDP had originally submitted no-confidence motions against both Nasheed and Eva earlier this year. The motion against Eva was submitted with the endorsement on 50 MPs in May, and the motion against Nasheed followed, with the endorsement of 54 MPs, in June.

But the MDP withdrew the motions in September, while the party was engaged in negotiations with the Democrats – the party to which both Nasheed and Eva belong – for the presidential runoff election.

The recent motion against Nasheed was submitted with the endorsement of 49 MPs on October 9.

The MDP parliamentary group convened for a meeting week, during which they passed a three-line whip to vote in favor of the motion.

The vote was unanimous.

The MDP holds a majority at the Parliament, with 56 MPs. 43 votes are required to pass the motion.