President’s Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza has threatened legal action “using all the powers of the government” against the People’s Majlis to “bring parliament back to the right path” in an appearance on government-aligned private broadcaster DhiTV on October 25.
Referring to parliament’s General Affairs Committee approving an amendment to the rules of procedure to conduct no-confidence motions through secret ballot, Riza said that the government could not “turn a blind eye” to what he contended was a move that violated the constitution.
“The constitution and parliamentary rules of procedure clearly state which votes are to be conducted through secret ballot. The rest of the votes should be open,” he claimed.
Riza went on to heavily criticise the committee decision, insisting that it violated the parliamentary rules on conducting committees meetings and votes.
The formerly ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has submitted no-confidence motions against both Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed and President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik.
While the motion against Home Minister Jameel has been tabled in the agenda for November 14, the impeachment motion has yet to be tabled.
The MDP-dominated General Affairs Committee approved the amendment for a secret ballot last week with four votes in favour and none against, committee chair and Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP for mid-Henveiru Ali Azim told local media. Only five MPs reportedly attended the committee meeting last week.
The amendment to parliament’s standing orders or rules of procedure would have to be approved in a vote at the Majlis floor to become official.
While a minister can be removed from his post through a simple majority of the 77 MPs in parliament, a two-thirds majority or 52 votes would be needed to impeach a sitting president.
Meanwhile, responding to Riza today, MDP Spokesperson and Henveiru South MP Hamid Abdul Gafoor told Minivan News that the party believed the remarks constituted a threat to violate separation of powers.
“It is simply second nature for the 7/2 police and military-backed coup-invoked dictatorship to use force to stay afloat,” the MP said.
Hamid had earlier tweeted that Abbas’s remarks were “open threats of use of force to stop secret ballot.”