Ahmed Adeeb, the influential tourism minister, has been sworn in as the Maldives’ new vice president at a ceremony at the President’s Office this afternoon. The People’s Majlis has approved his nomination with 70 votes in favor.
Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed administered the oath of office before the Majlis vote.
The new vice president thanked President Abdulla Yameen for his nomination.
Thank u HEP Yameen, for appointing me as Your Vice. Also I would like to thank all those who supported me & wished me well. Hadhimkum, Adeeb
— Ahmed Adeeb (@Ahmed_Adeeb) July 22, 2015
He told local media he will only take half of his MVR75,000 salary and will reside at his home instead of the official vice presidential palace.
Adeeb will continue to handle the cabinet portfolio on tourism.
The seven No votes include opposition MPs Eva Abdulla, Mariya Ahmed Didi, Imthiyaz Mohamed Falah, Mohamed Aslam, Rozaina Adam, and Ahmed Mahloof.
The minority leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, MDP MP Fayyaz Ismail, Jumhooree Party’s Ali Hussein, and Adhaalath Party’s Anara Naeem abstained from the vote.
Adeeb’s appointment comes after the parliament impeached Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel with multi-party support yesterday.
The impeachment process was initiated by the PPM-MDA coalition. Pro-government MPs accused Jameel of incompetence, dereliction of duty, links with the opposition, failure to defend the government, and excessive expenditure from the state budget.
Last week, the parliament also approved changes to its standing orders to fast-track the process of voting on a president’s nominee to fill a vacancy in the vice president’s post. The rules were changed to allow the speaker to call for a vote on the day a committee’s evaluation report is sent to MPs. Items are normally tabled in the agenda three days after the committee report is sent out.
In late June, the parliament approved a first amendment to the constitution to set age limits of 30 to 65 years for the presidency and vice presidency. Adeeb is 33 years old and was previously ineligible for the post as the constitution required candidates to be above 35 years of age.
Opposition MPs’ backing for the amendment was widely perceived as part of a deal in exchange for transferring imprisoned former President Mohamed Nasheed to house arrest.
The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) is currently engaged in talks with the government and has expressed hope that the opposition leader could be freed ahead of July 26 when the Maldives marks 50 years of independence.
Adeeb’s supporters meanwhile launched a social media campaign backing Adeeb for the vice presidency whilst rumours spread about former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s opposition to appointing the tourism minister to the post.
However, the PPM leader has repeatedly denied favouring a particular candidate, stating that the appointment of a deputy is the sole prerogative of the president.
Minivan News understands that senior members of the ruling party were split over Adeeb’s appointment. Several PPM MPs had, however, publicly declared that Adeeb would be sworn in before July 26.
Shortly after the constitutional amendment lowering the age limit for the vice presidency was passed, the tourism minister reprimanded Gayoom’s son, newly elected MP Ahmed Faris, for his absence from the vote.
Accusing Faris of letting Yameen down, Adeeb said in a text message in English: “You cannot differentiate youth or any segment with educated, non educated, poor and rich, beyfulhu [aristocrat] or non beyfulhu [non-aristocrat] etc.”