MDP decides to withhold approval to Haidar, Shaheem, Usham and Saeed

Combined file photos of (from L-R) Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, Dr. Haidar Ali, Ahmed Usham and Mohamed Saeed.

The main opposition MDP has decided to withhold parliamentary approval to four members of President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s cabinet.

The Parliament is set to take its vote on the 22-member new cabinet at 01:00 pm on Sunday. Just ahead of the vote, lawmakers from the MDP – who hold a majority in the Parliament, convened for a parliamentary group meeting to decide on the party’s move.

A source from the parliamentary group who attended the meeting said they passed a three-line red whip to withhold approval to four cabinet ministers, including the attorney general.

They are:

  • Ahmed Usham, attorney general
  • Mohamed Saeed, economic minister
  • Dr. Ali Haidar, housing minister
  • Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, Islamic minister

Meanwhile, the Democrats, which announced an alliance with MDP last week, have decided they will not approve three of the ministers. But instead of Shaheem, they decided they will withhold support to Moosa Zameer, the foreign minister.

Usham described MDP’s decision as a personal vendetta.

Current Parliament composition:

  • MDP: 43 MPs
  • Democrats: 13 MPs

Together, the two parties are represented by 56 out of 87 MPs at the Parliament. It is therefore highly unlikely that the ministers who got blacklisted by the parties will get approval.

The Parliament’s Government Oversight Committee had approved the cabinet in December, decided that all members of the cabinet meet the requirements stipulated in the constitution.

Earlier on Sunday, the ruling PPM-PNC issued a statement warning that it sees denial of approval to cabinet ministers as a deliberate move to impede the functioning of the government and a blatant disruption of public services.

President Muizzu made a formal request for the approval of his Cabinet on November 20, two days after the new administration took office.

The Parliament had been scheduled to vote on the Cabinet on December 18, but the original committee report was sent back to the committee. The committee later convened for a meeting during recess on December 30, during which they approved the cabinet.