Supreme Court rules rejected ministers cannot remain in their positions

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday night that the seven cabinet ministers not endorsed by the opposition-majority parliament cannot remain in their posts.

Delivering the verdict, Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussein noted that the Constitution did not state what should happen to rejected ministers, requiring the Supreme Court to make an interpretation.

All Supreme Court judges – with the exception of Judge Muthasim Adnan – ruled that ministers required the endorsement of parliament as stated in the Constitution.

However, the ministers would not be immediately dismissed, and would remain “employees” of the President until new nominees were put forward to parliament by the President.

President Mohamed Nasheed said during this week’s radio address that he would respect the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“When the Supreme Court rules that cabinet ministers cannot remain in office without the approval [of the People’s Majlis], it is compulsory for the President to follow that ruling”, President Nasheed said, emphasising that this evidence of an judiciary independent from the government was “a great achievement for the democratic process of the country.”

Health Minister Dr Aiminath Jameel, Youth Minister Hassan Latheef, Economic Minister Mahmood Razi, Housing Minister Mohamed Aslam and Islamic Minister Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari were approved by parliament on November 22, during a vote that was boycotted by MPs from the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

Seven ministers – Finance Minister Ali Hashim, Education Minister Dr Musthafa Luthfy, Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed, Fisheries Minister Dr Ibrahim Didi, Home Minister Mohamed Shihab, Defence Minister Ameen Faisal and Attorney General Dr Ahmed Ali Sawad – did not receive a majority of votes from the 42 MPs in attendance.

Following the vote, Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, head of the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), took the case to Supreme Court arguing that Ministers rejected by parliament should be dismissed from office.

Attorney General Dr Ahmed Ali Sawad was not responding to calls at time of press, but has previously said that “any interpretation [of the Constitution] whereby an appointed minister can be removed from his position by a simple majority, means that with parliament’s quorum of 20, 11 MPs can vote against cabinet and have ministers removed despite the constitution’s very detailed no confidence procedure.”

“Any interpretation that facilitates such instability in the political system is a very serious threat to our nation,” he stated.

The process of appointing cabinet members was criticised as ‘defective’ by Independent MP Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed, who claimed that the appointment process remained “beyond resolution” in such a highly partisan political environment.

“The [current] political environment is not conducive for a resolution within parliament,” he explained.

The cabinet resigned en masse in June protesting the “scorched-earth policies” of parliament, accusing the opposition majority of corrupt practices, deliberate obstruction and attempts to wrest executive control from the government.

Ministers were reappointed nine days later, making the cabinet vulnerable to the present ‘dismissal by procedure’.

The Supreme Court verdict is a firm rebuke to the government’s argument that approval of ministers by parliament is a “ceremonial” process and not tantamount to dismissal, and could be considered a victory for the opposition in retaliation for June’s publicity stunt.

However, the allowance for an unspecified interim period gives the government room to manoeuvre, and should Ministers remain in their posts as “employees”, is likely to spark fresh political turmoil over whether the government is adhering to the spirit of the ruling.

The ruling also increases pressure on the government to get the 2011 State Budget through parliament in the few remaining days of session before the end of the year.

The opposition has said it will not allow Finance Minister Ali Hashim to present the budget, however the government has argued that the budget was sent to parliament on December 1 and – against tradition – does not have to be presented in person.

Parliament’s regulations state that debate on the budget must commence within seven days of receiving the document and be decided upon seven days before the end of the year.


48 thoughts on “Supreme Court rules rejected ministers cannot remain in their positions”

  1. very clever and smart. MDP now has the opportunity to nominate a solid cabinet to win 2013. Also lot of opportunity to bargain. No more need to carry unnecessary baggage with damaged goods. The way this was done by Presdent Nasheed is political masterstroke. This man would be unbeatable as a politician.

  2. this decision is very important to interpret the disputed provision in the Constitution but now it makes things lot hard for the government to run, especially in a presidential system. the situation in Maldives is even severe because the Parliament is full of freaks...

  3. Now MDP supporters will try to project this as a success to Anni and make believe that this was a far-sighted and a well ordained precedent that MDP cooked out of the supreme court, for their own benefit?

    I don't think so.

    This was an own goal by MDP due to poor defence and silly goalmouth scramble!!!

    Serves them right.

  4. The Supreme Court’s verdict must be respected. Many people will be glad to see the back of opportunist Dr Shaheed and crazy Dr Didi (the awful dentist who ruined my teeth). I am saddened to see Mr Shihab, Ali Hashim go. May be they have done some mistakes.
    Now it is time for Mr Nasheed to appoint some trust worthy Ministers. Perhaps he can call back some of former Ministers people like Ali Haidar, Mr Mohamed Saeed, Jihad or Mai.
    There is no point in appointing MDP activists as ministers as most of them lack serious nation building skills.

  5. President Nasheed does not seem to know what a democracy is. He seems to think that he can bulldoze his way through even the constitution. He has turned out to be a very stupid man indeed. He was the one who asked the cabinet to resign and he was also probably the one who asked his parliamentarians to boycott the Majlis sitting which voted on the Ministers. Had his parliamentarians been present he could have saved some 90 percent of the Ministers who were voted out. Silly fool. I feel sorry for the guy now.

  6. Mr. President . You have a major task ahead: nation building for the sake of you country men who had put so much hope in your. The supreme court verdict is a victory for everyone. Its proof that Maldives today has clear separation of powers without any interference from the head of of state. Sure it may , at first, seem to be a major blow to your leadership. But in reality it is an opportunity to start afresh with a new team . There is no shortage of capable and , talented people today in Maldives. Rather than getting bogged down with some unpopular Ministers,however smart they may be, its much better to proceed with your greater vision and mission. After all if an organ has to be amputated in order to save the person's life because of cancer, the choice is very clear. So removal of Ministers who have become an unbearable burden, for what ever reason, will have to be the logical choice. Best of luck to you.

  7. I certainly did not want Didi to be a Minister, no matter I am an ardent MDP member. You must become his dental patient to know how INTOLERABLE a character he is. This man is NOT A HUMAN BEING. I am sure the Agriculture Ministry people would put a "shukuru ge shajidha". Also, I am not happy that Adil Saleem is a Minister. Everybody has seen his "blue film". Maybe Anni did not know about it. If this is the case, Juha should tell him, at least. President Nasheed should have some moral standards.

  8. I am sad to see Finance Minister Hashim and Foreign Minister Shaheed go. They've been the most capable guys in this cabinet and have done a lot for the country. I hope they do find a role in government where they can continue to contribute.

    These guys took unpopular decisions; but decisions that are good for the nation in the long term. That takes courage and vision.

  9. @ Ahmed Bin Addu Bin Suvadheeb

    "These guys took unpopular decisions; but decisions that are good for the nation in the long term."

    They can be ministers in the long run, then, when we see some good from their decisions.

    Not today not now.

  10. Dr.Samad

    "Mr. President . You have a major task ahead: nation building for the sake of you country men who had put so much hope in your."

    I did not put any hope in him except a MID-TERM election.

  11. @ Dr.Samad

    "So removal of Ministers who have become an unbearable burden, for what ever reason, will have to be the logical choice."

    This not about logic.

    It's about senseless dancing to every whim of an idiotic "kulhey beybe"

  12. "i never find anyone to replace you..guess i hv to make it through this time oh this time'..........without you......

  13. Now finally the real Janaza is taking place, I was an MDP supporter until the day President Nasheed accepted this Janaza Kudey to MDP...taste your own medicine mate. (If President Nasheed is reading this post, he will know who I am)

  14. Its a pity, there is not much entertainment in the Maldives. The political turmoil is spun off, and is fueled by the need for a semblance of an entertainment for the majority of the Maldivians.

    Its truly pathetic.

  15. My my. How the colors of a rainbow have changed. Veritable spots on a leopard, tis should have been- but NOo the comments have flipped like a pancake.

    Whatever became of Anni and his will of the people our voices chants?

    Look, look, its what we've been saying all along. The cabinet requires parliamentary approval. period. And now elected officials in Parliament, therefore by default the people have spoken. Where does indeed, MDP find this "unanimous mandate" it always boasts of..

    Ameen faisal is street scum, needs more refinement still this government of the people, by the people and for the people. Thus we remain where we were. Critical of every Anni-move.

    For the good of the people; for if it were a DRP cabinet, no less but a carcass would have remained by now. MDP must remain no less exempt from the will of the people.

  16. I want to remind you all that in 2006, His Excellency Mohamed Nasheed, was named TIME Person of the Year. Not many people in Maldives know this, as most Islamic Extremist Maldivians can only produce Arabic by rote when given a written text. Which is unfortunate and laughable (but what can one expect of a small ignorant debt-ridden country with a few idiots who think they know it all (e.g. heck, mavota) ?)

    Soon, Extremist Islamic Maldivians will tell us that it is not permissible to speak, and one can only bleat like a goat.

  17. @money hungry: I know the storm was getting closer.

    And all my friends said I was high
    But everything we've ever known's here
    I never wanted it to die...

  18. i really wonder who gave president the idea of resigning the whole cabinet,just for show.could it be husnu suood?

  19. The Supreme Court must be congratulated for this decision.

    This is good for Maldivian democracy.

  20. Congratulations to the Supreme Court. They have proven that nobody can just go against our constitution. The president and the cabinet lost this time, because of mistakes they made on their own. Nobody told them to resign, saying that MP's were making life hard for them. Instead of crying, they should have just dealt with the problems ahead.

    Resigning gave the opposition a golden opportunity and they took it very well. Sorry mr.president, but not everything works the way you want them to. Maybe you can try going "out of the chart"?

  21. what the president can now do is resign. and ask Supreme Court if it can tell if he has really resigned. when Supreme court delivers its opinion, we can all celebrate Democracy, eat rice pudding on artificial beach.. then go home and sleep in a 6'x6'x6' box while sending everyone sms about how Democracy won it all. if you're lucky you'll have a wet dream about democracy.

  22. "President nasheed appoints ameen faisal as national security adviser ..ealier it was maumoon appoints aneesa as Presidents minister?"
    I am appealing to President nasheed appoint someone with intellectual capacity, aspirants of good character and integrity, so that we can move forward… or else I don’t see any difference between you and dictator maumoon ..

  23. The President should learn an important lesson from the fiasco of En Masse Cabinet resignation which led to this whole mess in the first place.

    The President's Agenda is not moving forward in the Majlis due to the theatrics of people like Reeko Moosa. While we know that DRP would like to make life difficult for the administration, it is not impossible to find a middle ground in the Majlis on issues of common interest ie: important bills necessary to provide essential services to the public.

    President Nasheed should also learn from President Obama who has just cut a deal (for the greater good of the American people) with his Republican adversaries on Tax against all the objections of his own Democratic Party Congress members. We see a dramatic parallel in the US Congress (with the Republicans about to take control).

    President Nasheed is a good man and a wily politician. He is not an ego maniac like Maumoon. He is the elected leader of the people of Maldives (both MDP and DRP followers). Democracy is about compromise. After all we have to acknowledge that there is a significant percentage of the public who do not agree with some of the policies of the government. This is only natural. We have liberals and conservatives. We have Islamic fundamentalists. We have people who believe is privatization and those who oppose it.

    The President's job is navigating through these conflicting forces in a manner that will bring progress and prosperity to our nation.

    He may have lost half of his cabinet. So what? He can always appoint better replacements and move forward. A battle may have been lost. But the "war" will be won!

  24. damn all u ppl do is put on a show and dance..resign...appoint...terminate blah blah blah blah...mates use ya grey matter & do something good for the country ppl...did any bells ring haa? ok i wil ring it for igmh a joke now? is adk the alternative for squeezing all the money out of our ppl so dat all u freaks can share the money in percentages...wots with the education system now? wot is this all olevel and alevel bull shit? y cant we make our own unique syllabus exclusively for maldivians only haaa...y cant the government operate and employee atleast 80% maldivians as resort employees! r u afraid u may not get enough tourist becoz u dont know how to market..wot is all these ambassadors doing abroad in european countries...put these ppl in propper use...wot is it with u u think this is all a game? i am afraid its not...we r here dealing with real human beings...not animals...even animals have got dignity respect and care...u think all this is a joke? u ppl can play around...fine enjoy...dont care abt the normal poor ppl..take as much as advantages u can get out of the mass normal poppulation by using their money to benefit for urgoodself and ur pals if it makes u ppl so happy and great...grow up palees

  25. I would like to see the President now appoint capable and party loyal people to the Cabinet. If I could make a suggestion please appoint: Naseem (kerefaa) as Foreign Minister, Adam Manik (Sarangu) as Home Minister, Faruhath Shaheer as Defence Minister, Shifa as Education Minister, Asad as Finance Minister, Ahmed Abbas as Fisheries Minister and Haseen as Attorney General.

  26. Speechless.

    Is the Maldives redefining long held principles and standards of democracy?

  27. kekekeke the guy cut down to his size....(thoalaa fulhi akah laafa kandah faththaalaa) ..way to go Madivians ..OMG!!! condolence to moosanik too.. cheer up clowns

  28. We did not vote for Annie to breed democracy. This guy is British educated idiot. The prices of stable food items has gone through the roof and only thing he wants is democracy. This nut has lost his bearings and is now a puppet of DRP and their judiciary. I regret voting for this idiot.

  29. The ministers must go to the islands and change this DRP hold in the majlis. Maldives will go to the dogs with democracy breeding process.

  30. The sole responsibility should be taken by the president. He advised the cabinet to resign, he appointed them again and he asked his parliament members to boycott when the vote was taken. He would have saved all his cabinet members if he had not done all these. He has proved himself that he is not the leader we all thought he was. He failed to exercise democracy. He is no different than his predecessor.

    His actions don’t match what he says. He says he is the promoter of democracy but he refused multiple times to go with the constitution and let alone court orders. His party partnered with the fundamentalists (adhaalath) who has nothing to offer except hatred to democracy.

    It is best that he resign and let Waheed takeover.

  31. The accidental president of Maldives suffers yet another blow. Anni is proving to be more stupid than we ever thought. A lunatic. Accidental presidents are not an uncommon phenomenon. Remember Abdul Rahman wahid of Indonesia?

  32. “employees” of the President ?? ha ha haaa. What a bloody joke? Can I become his "employee" ?

  33. I think Sarangu Adam Manik should be transferred to home ministry.
    The guy seems capable of cleaning up the streets of crime.

    Happy to see Supreme Court act independently, and the president saying he will adhere to the ruling.

    And i keep hoping that that DRP would grow up and do things for the benefit of the citizens not petty political gains.
    Throwing out two of the most capable ministers Ali Hashim and Shaheed is sad.

    And then choosing to approve Aiminath Jameel who is doing an extremely bad job, and DJ Bari who is incapable of controlling the radicalization and hate speech that is sprouting in the Maldives shows that DRP is not doing this for the citizens.

  34. Maldives Foreign Ministry website says 'Professor Dr. Shaheed' resigned rather than fired by the parliament, thus providing the final positive spin to even his demise. Wonder what would be written on his tombstone epitaphs?

    'Here lies the greatest spinner of all'

  35. this cannot be called a failure of HEP and the executive body. if this is a failure it is a failure of the whole government system including Parliament and Judiciary.
    This precedent will be repeated and am quite sure that in a country ruled by DRP, family and allies will be made the cabinet and nepotism at its worst has been shown by DRP and continues to be the biggest pain in their ass. Even now the hullabaloo they are making is to make Golhabo the DRP leader and Yamin the deputy leader.
    If the parliament rejected today's cabinet,just for political gains they will see the public itself rejecting a Cabinet under a DRP rule. This is nothing but a stick sharpened by DRP without knowing this will injure them in future. We will not tolerate nepotism and despots like Golhabo.

  36. @Leena - what u said about Ali Hashim is very true. He is one of the few in this govt who is capable of holding his integrity. It would be very difficult for anni to replace ali hashim. it is indeed very sad that he has to go. This is a big loss to the nation.

    I wonder what u see in Shaheed. He was the man who said gayoom is the father of democracy to the whole world. then he went after hassan saeed. ridiculed gayoom. ridiculed anni. and when anni when he dumped hassan. here is one of the most selfish, unprincipled and utterly destructive man this country has ever seen. ‘Professor Dr. Shaheed’ resigned???? pathetic. horrendously pathetic!

  37. My suggestion to HEP is before he announces the new Ministers, at least meet the Opposition leaders and get their feel also. I am sure one to one meetings will bring about compromise. The while idea of Parliamentary approval is to have a Cabinet which even though not from Opposition, are members who are capable of working with the Opposition.

  38. ppl of the republic of maldives...concentrate on buidling a stable democracy first within your own family and house hold and neigbour instead of pointing out always wots going on in the cabinet and how anni is dealing with the current government situation...anni is also not a magician...he is doing his best and we wish him well...think b4 u say things to ppl

  39. This ruling is a stepping stone to a modern democracy and shows that check and balance is gradually prevailing in this nation. On the other hand, some gullible people, would get a taste how democracies are working, and would know that a president could not be the only supreme power and do whatever he thinks, like we had in the past.

    I am glad this Dr.Didi is gone, he seems very unapproachable and he need to be compatible to pluralistic society to respect different ideas and opinions and this can even witnessed from the comments in here.

  40. Its ok to have checks and balances. Wouldn't it be a good idea for the President's office to have the authority to decide on Majlis member's salary and things like that? Every worker in the country receives less money for the day he didn't work except these honourable scumbags in majlis. So someone other than them shall have the authority to pull strings at their purse. That's only fair no? For checks and balances to work mean it has to work both ways. Majlis doesn't have to be hijacked by these DRP losers..

  41. President is really a very stupid guy.Doesn't know the ABCD of governance.Should quit soon for the better of the country. The country got ruined. Has done nothing for the benefit of people.The day that ends Nasheed's totalitarian rule would be the Nation's Independence Day!

  42. @musthoa

    Funny thing is, today, you can say all of these things at the top of your voice (or via a loudspeaker) in Republican Square, and no one will bat an eyelid.

    However, if you tried that stunt 2 years ago, you would end up in a very uncomfortable solitary confinement for, perhaps, the rest of your life!

    Think about that! Nasheed, indeed, knows what ABCD of governance is. Democracy is new to us. There's a lot of people who don't like it, since they stand to lose their historical privileges being linked to the ruling classes. They don't like the ordinary man on the street having equal opportunity for health and wealth.

    Why are the biggest businessmen in the country so keen on being politicians? Why don't they stick to doing business instead of becoming politicians? After all, they never bothered with politics too much before. It's clear that they want to CONTROL the country in the way they want.

  43. @ Ahmed Bin Addu Bin Suvadheeb

    Agree with your last para on the need for businessmen to refrain from getting involved in politics.

    This should apply to ALL the Big businessmen who are involved in politics. A few names from the top of my head are:-

    MPs Qasim, Thasmeen, Sun Travel Siyam, Hulhudhoo Ilyas Labeeb, Reeko Moosa, Hamza etc.

    From the Government Ali Hashim (now resigned), Economic Adviser AAA Ali, Razee etc.

    Last but not least, current politicians now busy trying to set up some business or other and sometimes trying to accumulate some wealth through corruption should decide one way or the other. Quite politics and start a business or to remain in public service.

    You can't have it both ways. Power and Money is a nasty brew when mixed.


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