President Abdulla Yameen has ratified today a constitutional amendment setting new age limits of 30-65 years for presidency.
The parliament yesterday passed the first amendment to the constitution with overwhelming trip artisan support.
A total of 78 MPs of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives-Maldives Development Alliance (PPM-MDA) coalition and the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Jumhooree Party (JP) voted in favour of the proposed change.
The ruling coalition is seeking to replace vice-president Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed with tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb, who is 33 and ineligible for the post.
The constitution previously stated that presidential and vice presidential candidates must be 35 years of age.
Pro-government MPs have publicly accused Jameel of disloyalty and incompetence, but opposition politicians and some media outlets have claimed that President Abdulla Yameen is seeking a loyal deputy ahead of a life-threatening surgery.
Several PPM MPs have said that Adeeb will become the next vice president, but Jameel can only be replaced if he either resigns or is impeached with a two-third majority of parliament.
The revision to article 109(c) marks the first time the constitution has been changed since its adoption in August 2008.
The MDP and JP parliamentary groups issued three-line whips Tuesday night for its MPs to back the amendment, prompting speculation of a deal with the government, after former President Mohamed Nasheed’s house arrest was extended to eight weeks.
MDP parliamentary group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said that the main opposition party stood to gain more from backing the amendments than opposing it.
The amendment was submitted earlier this month by MDA MP Mohamed Ismail, who said during the preliminary debate that he proposed the 65-year cap as the president should be “young, intelligent, daring, active, and energetic.”