Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has said he expects to successfully defend himself within the People’s Majlis against a no-confidence motion submitted this month by the opposition Maldivan Democratic Party (MDP).
Local media reported Friday (December 21) that Parliamentary Speaker Abdulla Shahid has sent the required 14-day notice to Dr Jameel informing him of a second no-confidence motion submitted by the MDP against him.
The motion was forwarded by the opposition party over allegations the home minister had failed to control civil peace and order in the country. A previous motion submitted by the MDP against Dr Jameel was withdrawn by the party for unexplained reasons.
Earlier this month, parliament also tabled a no-confidence motion filed against Defence Minister Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim, despite a Supreme Court injunction ordering parliament to halt all pending no-confidence votes.
The People’s Majlis secretariat revealed at the time that Defence Minister Nazim has been given the required 14-day notice and his ministry also duly informed by Speaker Abdulla Shahid. A no-confidence motion against President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan is also in parliament awaiting scheduling.
Confirming that the 14 day notice ahead of the second no-confidence vote against him had now been received, Dr Jameel claimed he expected to successfully defend himself from the motion, as would other senior government representatives.
“[The no-confidence motion] is part of a democratic process that the government of the day must always be prepared to face. I feel it’s equally vital for those of us sitting in the government to inform the public and People’s Majlis of our performance and decisions.”
“I am sure once our side of the story is heard by the Majlis, the concerns and charges raised in the motion will become clearer and will be seen as baseless. It’s important in such a motion, in my opinion, to appear in the Majlis and fully cooperate with this democratic exercise,” he told Minivan News.
Dr Jameel added that the would not comment on whether he felt the MDP could garner enough support for the motion, referring the question to the opposition party.
After last week submitting the bill, which was backed by 17 of MDP MPs, the opposition party accused the Home Minister of failing to control law and order in the country and therefore holding ultimate responsibility for the loss of eight lives.
The MDP further referred to an incident in which a police officer struck a speeding motorcyclist with his baton. The action caused the vehicle – alleged to have been driven by a suspected robber – to collide with another man’s motorcycle and killing him.
Police at the time did not reveal the involvement of the police officer in the death of the bystander. Video footage of the incident was subsequently leaked to the media. The MDP alleged that Home Minister Jameel had tried to cover up police involvement in the death.
MDP MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor claimed there was sufficient support in the Majlis to back the three no-confidence motions the party submitted against Dr Jameel, President Waheed and Defense Minister Nazim.
“We believe it is possible and necessary to [pursue the no confidence motions]. If you look at all cases, it is quite clear that all have acted unconstitutionally. This applies to all three cases,” he said.
In light of the government’s recent decision to terminate a sovereign agreement with India-based infrastructure group GMR over developing Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA), Ghafoor contended that sufficient support remained in parliament to vote against the government in all three cases.
“We believe there are enough sensible MPs who understand the need for a legal ouster of an unelected executive,” he claimed.
Ghafoor added that the party was confident that a majority of MPs would not continue to allow what he alleged was the growing role of radicalism within the executive’s decision. He contended this influence had been seen in the government’s attitude against not only parliament, but foreign investment in the form of GMR.
“You have a government without any democratic mandate taking major decisions against parliament and foreign investors,” he added.
Earlier this week, government-aligned Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Parliamentary Group Leader and MP Abdulla Yameen alleged in local media that any damage to relations between India and the Maldives following the GMR contract termination had been the result of the actions of the National Movement.
The National Movement is made up of several representatives in the coalition government of President Waheed, notably including the religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP).
During an interview with private broadcaster DhiTV on Tuesday (December 18), Yameen claimed that the airport was not withdrawn from GMR due to the pressure of National Movement, which had strongly opposed the deal, but rather a unanimous decision by the coalition government.
However, Yamin alleged that during rallies held by the National Movement, some participants spoke in a tone about GMR and the airport development that might have caused diplomatic issues with India.
According to Sun Online, Yameen was also quoted as claiming that the ongoing protests and rallies being held by the National Movement were unnecessary. He added that the Maldives might have to face difficulties due to the recent activities of the National Movement.
Days earlier, National Movement steering committee member and Minister of State for Finance Abbas Adil Riza said efforts would be taken to “break up” parliament should its dispute with the Supreme Court over holding temporary secret ballots for upcoming no-confidence votes continue.
However, speaking on December 9, government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Abdulla Mausoom stated there was no ‘spirit’ within his party to support the no-confidence motion against Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim.
Mausoom said although the DRP would support no-confidence motions against cabinet ministers where it thought such actions were justified, he believed the party would not back the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in trying to remove Nazim as defence chief as part of what he believed was a “personal vendetta”.
Mausoom contended that, for the vote against Defence Minister Nazim at least, the MDP would not be able to pass such “personal vendetta-based motions” and repeated his claim that the motion lacked sufficient grounds to be supported.