President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed has said that ministers will not be removed from their positions if disapproved by the opposition-majority parliament during the endorsement process.
The Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has argued that parliament will endorse ministers individually and is reported to have a list of members it plans to disprove. The government contents that parliament’s endorsement of ministers is “ceremonial” and should be done wholesale.
Speaking during his weekly radio address, Nasheed said that he believed the consent of the parliament should be given ministers “as a whole, rather than voting individually.”
“Members appointed to the cabinet will remain in office whether the parliament approves or disapproves a member,” said Nasheed.
If the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs felt guilty in taking part in “an unlawful vote”, Nasheed requested them to remain silent in the parliament chamber and not take part.
Nasheed said although there were ministers who did and did not have the consent of the parliament, the DRP’s position was unrealistic.
“Although I desire the parliament’s approval for the cabinet it is not wise to keep the whole country in limbo until a condition that was not prescribed in a law is fulfilled,’’ he added.
Parliament ground to halt several weeks ago over the issue, and has been derailed on points of order.
Opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ahmed Nihan said the president’s decision would “drop the whole country into chaos.”
“He is disrespecting the constitution,’’ said Nihan, “even though he is the person who should be the most responsible for upholding the constitution.’’
Referring to the president’s position on the issue, Nihan suggested that “tomorrow a citizen might go in front of the president’s office claiming to be the president ‘because the constitution does not clearly state the details of who shall be president.'”
“If these things continue to go this way, one day the citizens may enter the president’s office and throw out the cabinet ministers themselves,” he warned. “I call on the president to respect and uphold the constitution.”