The Maldives’ Constitution (Article 4) is very clear that our country is a democracy in which all the powers of the State are derived from and remain with the citizens.
In particular legislative power (the power to enact laws that govern our society) lies with a democratically-elected parliament while executive power (the power to act as executor of those laws and see the will of the people reflected in the governing of the country) should lie with a democratically-elected president.
Unfortunately, since the coup of February 2012 we have seen power flicker from one unelected institution to another, in complete disregard of the will of the people as voiced in the 2008 elections: from an unelected president to an unelected supreme court, and from an unelected police commissioner to an unelected attorney-general.
It is now time to place power back in the hands of the citizens. The 88 percent voter turnout in the September 7 polls was that power. It is imperative that November 9’s elections proceed peacefully and with the full cooperation and goodwill of all political parties and State institutions, including the police.
Certain political leaders, as well as members of the Supreme Court, have treated voters with a level of contempt that beggars belief – asking citizens to vote, and when they didn’t like the result, asking them to vote again, and again, and again.
As the UK’s MP for Redditch, Karen Lumley suggested during the Westminster Hall debate on the Maldives this week, this has been like “watching a child who cannot win at a board game tip over the board”.
If our stroppy candidates (who could put Fagin to shame), and their gang of police boys, discredited judges and the unloved President allow these elections to go ahead, and this time they do respect the result, then we will not enter a constitutional void and it will not be necessary for the parliament as the only body in the Maldives which has been democratically elected in a free and fair vote, through the person of the Speaker, to assume executive control.
If, however, unelected individuals once again demonstrate contempt for democracy, if they once again decide that the powers of the State reside with them and not with the citizens, then parliament will be forced to step in as per the Majlis resolution of October 27th 2013.
The Speaker, as the last remaining democratically elected head of the last remaining democratically elected body must take over the interim presidency and ensure a free and fair vote for the people of the Maldives.
To quote President Nasheed, “there is no Houdini to pull the rabbit out of the hat. No magic tricks. No improvisations. We follow the Constitution. We follow the spirit and letter of the Constitution.”
Eva Abdulla is the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP for Galolhu North, and Asia-Pacific Member of the IPU Committee for Women MPs
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