Majlis postpones decision on response to President’s speech

The parliamentary speaker yesterday announced the postponement of providing an official response to President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s inaugural speech to the Majlis chamber on March 19.

Controversy surrounded the curtailed speech as opposition MPs attempted to disrupt and heckle the president as he performed his constitutionally mandated duty of speaking at the opening of the session. The previous attempt to address parliament on March 1 had been abandoned after the Speaker of the House Abdullah Shahid was unable to gain entrance to the People’s Majlis.

The official response to the address, according to article 25 of the Parliament rules of procedure, must come from the non-presidential party with the most number of seats.

The Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) leader in Parliament Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Solih, however has said that he does not feel it appropriate for his party to carry out this function at present.

“I don’t believe that the Maldives has a legitimate leader at present. If so then the leader would be from MDP. That’s why we have refused to respond to the presidential address as MDP is not required to do so,” Haveeru reported Ibu Solih as having said.

Haveeru reported that no members objected to the motion to postpone the response.