Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Parliament Group Leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (Ibu Solih) has stated that the party will not be responding to the presidential address delivered by President Mohamed Waheed Hassan during Monday’s parliament opening ceremony.
Solih said the statement held no legitimacy as Waheed himself was an illegally installed president, and hence warranted no official response.
“Waheed is in his position through a coup d’etat. A year having passed since does not change that fact. That is what we demonstrated in parliament today,” Solih told local media.
“We are only obliged to respond to a presidential address given by a legitimate leader.”
If Waheed were to be a legal president, then he would be representing MDP. Were it so, then MDP would not need to respond to the address, and the task would be for some other party. So, in either of those instances, MDP has no obligation to respond to Waheed’s statement,” he continued.
MDP also refused to respond to Waheed’s address in 2012.
Parliament regulations state that the majority and minority parties in the parliament besides the one that the President represents must issue a response to the presidential address within a period of 14 days after it being issued.
Solih furthermore expressed concern over some actions during Monday’s parliamentary session.
“While the session was in a recess, an MNDF officer attacked one of our MPs. I saw this happen with my own eyes. I have already lodged a complaint about this with the parliament speaker. The security officer was removed from the parliament halls at the time. Incidentally, we have also identified him,” Solih alleged.
Solih also alleged that the party’s objective during this parliamentary year was to pass many of the important bills that have been pending for long periods of time.
“I believe this year we will see a lot of productive work being completed here. One of these pending bills is the Penal Code. Hopefully, this bill will be passed as law within the month,” Solih stated.
Presidential Address in six hours, six attempts
President Mohamed Waheed Hassan delivered the presidential address in parliament on Monday through six separate attempts made through nearly six hours.
The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs staged protests inside the parliament chambers while simultaneous protests by party supporters carried on outside parliament, with thousands of supporters chanting “coup president resign now” and “we want an interim government now”.
While normal procedure during previous instances where a president speaks in a parliament is to fly the presidential flag alongside the national flag and the parliament flag, no such flag was hoisted during Monday’s session.
Waheed was prevented from entering the main parliament hall twice, and he proceeded to deliver the presidential address in four separate installments. Local media reported that Waheed had omitted much of the 17 page speech that had been distributed to media ahead of the parliament meeting.
Three of these times, he was led out of the hall by Parliament Speaker Abdulla Shahid due to disruptions caused by MDP MPs who were echoing the chants of “baaghee” [traitor] inside.
After Waheed concluded his presidential address, MDP MPs joined the street protests which were being carried out on Sosun Magu.
Former President and MDP Presidential Mohamed Nasheed joined to greet the MPs as they entered the gathering to the sound of loud cheering from party supporters.
Before the protest was concluded, MP Ali Waheed addressed the crowd, stating that the party would continue protesting against what he alleged is a “coup government.”
“What we have witnessed is the beginning of the end of Waheed’s coup administration,” MP Waheed told the gathered crowds.
“Just like the old dictator Maumoon had to retreat into his cave, Waheed will have the same fate,” he said.
“The events we saw in Majlis has proven a lot of things. The fact that members from all the other parties stayed quiet and did not attempt to intervene in our protests say a lot. They have said ‘no to Waheed’ in the loudest form that they can while they are still part of this current government,” Ali Waheed said.
“Around 30 of our MPs managed to hold Waheed back from speaking in parliament for over five hours despite him coming surrounded by police and army. There is hope that we will be victorious,” Ali Waheed said in conclusion of his address before the party marched off, bringing an end to Monday’s protests.