MDP: Previous spirit of granting approval for majority of ministers has now changed

MDP parliamentary group hold press briefing on January 28, 2024. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Main opposition MDP, underscoring they were previously in the spirit of granting approval to majority of the new cabinet ministers, states Sunday’s events have changed their spirit.

Initially, an extraordinary sitting was scheduled for Sunday with the vote on the 22-member new cabinet on schedule. But just ahead of the vote, the MDP parliamentary group convened for a meeting, during which it issued a three-line red whip to withhold support to four government ministers.

This prompted protests from pro-government MPs which hindered the sitting from proceeding.

Despite several attempts to continue the sitting, including twice tonight, the sitting had to be discontinued without asking for the vote as pro-government MPs had obstructed the sitting from proceeding by staging demonstrations and yelling.

MDP, in a press conference held late Sunday night, alleged that the sitting was obstructed by the direct influence of the government.

Speaking at tonight’s press conference, Deputy Speaker, and parliamentarian for Hoarafushi constituency Ahmed Saleem, who is a member of the main opposition MDP, described Sunday’s event as a “very dark day” in the legislative system.

Detailing the events as obstruction of the parliamentary works – Saleem stressed that no party should influence of the parliament. He added that in contradictory, the scene witnessed today was parties with influence, abusing that power to obstruct parliamentary works.

“The parliament’s regulations very clearly state the parliament can inquire when approving ministers to establish whether they are qualified or not,” he noted.

Saleem said although the Government Oversight Committee has passed to approve the cabinet, they had only considered whether the ministers meet the requirements stipulated in the law. Emphasizing that committee decisions are not final decisions of the parliament, he said the final decisions are decided by a floor vote.

Therewith, he said it could only be established whether the current administration’s cabinet had parliamentary approval if the works of the parliament had concluded today.

He further said that despite MDP MPs previously being in the spirit of granting approval to as many cabinet ministers as possible, their minds have drastically changed in light of Sunday’s events.

“Many MPs have directly told me that they do not wish to vote in favor of many ministers as of present,” he remarked.

MDP 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

An extraordinary sitting has been slated for 11:00pm on Monday, with the cabinet approval on agenda.