The full floor of the People’s Majlis today rejected the president’s nominee for the vacant Prosecutor General’s (PG) position, Maumoon Hameed, four months after he was initially put forward.
After beginning late due to an insufficient number of MPs present to form a quorum, MPs present voted in favour of appointing President Abdulla Yameen’s nephew by 36 votes to 17 – three votes short of the total majority needed to approve a new PG.
Meanwhile, all MPs present today approved the appointment of Dr Azeema Adam to the post of Governor of the Maldives Monetary Authority.
Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Spokesman Hamid Abdul Ghafoor – who voted against Hameed’s appointment today – suggested that the failure to secure their nominee could have been a result of poor organisation on the part of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), or perhaps a sign of further discord within the pro-government coalition.
“MP Gasim Ibrahim [Jumhooree Party leader] was openly lobbying against the PG nominee 30 min before vote but voted with PPM”, claimed Hamid, noting the conspicuous absence of a number of prominent government-aligned MPs today.
Tension within the Progressive Coalition has been evident since before last month’s polls, with overlapping candidacies and competition for the Majlis speaker’s position – openly coveted by Gasim – contributing to rumours of a rift.
Both the President’s Office and PPM spokesmen were unavailable for comment at the time of press.
The PG’s position has been vacant since former PG Ahmed Muiz resigned from the post prior to a scheduled no-confidence vote last November. The opposition MDP brought the motion after suggesting Muizz had failed to take action against security forces who mutinied on February 7, 2012.
The Majlis’ oversight committee earlier this month recommended Hameed not be approved for the position, with committee chair Rozaina Adam telling Minivan News that the nominee had failed to meet the group’s assessment criteria.
The oversight commission had previously delayed proceedings in order to seek public opinion on Hameed’s appointment, taking the decision far beyond the thirty days the constitution allows for the post to remain vacant.
This extended delay brought the PG’s Office – temporarily headed by Deputy PG Hussain Shameem – into conflict with the Criminal Court, which had refused to accept new cases before being repeated requests from the Supreme Court to resume normal practice.
Shameem continues to maintain that the Criminal Court has rejected around one third of cases forwarded, on questionable grounds, though the court has told local media that these cases were in fact ‘returned’ for amendments.
While pro-government parties hold a slight majority in the current parliament, last month’s election for the 18th Majlis – scheduled to begin on May28th – saw the Progressive Coalition win 53 of 85 seats on offer.
A number of post-election acquisitions has since assured the group of a two thirds majority in the new session, making it possible that the government will forward Hameed’s name again, suggested Hamid.
Lawyer Maumoon Hameed is the son of the Gayoom administration’s Atolls Minister Abdulla Hameed, and the nephew of incumbent President Yameen and ruling Progressive Party of Maldives leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.