Parliament cancelled for second day

The sitting of the People’s Majlis (parliament) was cancelled on Wednesday for the second day running without explanation, although parliamentary procedures require Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday sittings.

The secretariat did not give a reason for the cancellation, both opposition and pro-government MPs told Minivan News.

An unnamed MP from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives suggested to online CNM that the cancellation might be down to the absence of Speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed, who is overseas at a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

However, Monday’s sitting was held with Deputy Speaker ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik presiding.

Since parliament returned from recess earlier this month, opposition Maldivian Democratic Party MPs have been protesting on the Majlis floor with sirens, whistles and megaphones, calling for the release of former President Mohamed Nasheed.

However, Speaker Maseeh has been continuing proceedings despite the disorder in chamber.

Parliament also ceased providing a live feed of the sittings to television stations whilst debate on bills is inaudible to the viewing gallery.

At Monday’s sitting of parliament, 44 MPs voted in favour of extending the lifespan of 39 regulations under the General Regulations Act until April 2016.

The law was passed in late 2008 as a parent legislation for over 80 regulations without a statutory basis when the new constitution was adopted.

Article 271 of the constitution states: “Regulations derive their authority from laws passed by the People’s Majlis pursuant to which they are enacted and are enforceable pursuant to such lawful authority.”

The parent act prolonged the lifespan of the regulations – which did not derive authority from an act of parliament – until new legislation such as a Criminal Procedures Act, Evidence Act and laws dealing with the health sector could be passed.

Parliament has been periodically extending the General Regulations Act since 2009.

Prior to the latest extension, three regulations were removed from the law – concerning business registration and procedures for requesting information – following the passage of new legislation on those areas.