The parliament’s Executive Oversight Committee has rejected eight of 15 ministers in President Abdulla Yameen’s cabinet.
However, President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali has told Minivan News he was confident all ministers will be endorsed on the parliament floor regardless of the committee’s views.
The Executive Oversight Committee rejected Minister of Defence and National Security Mohamed Nazim,, Minister of Tourism Ahmed Adheeb, Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer, Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, Minister of Health and Gender Mariyam Shakeela, Minister of Transport and Communication Ameen Ibrahim, Minister of Finance and Treasury Abdulla Jihad, and Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Mohamed Muizzu.
The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs holds six of ten seats in the committee.
Ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Nihan proposed casting a single vote for the full cabinet. However, the proposal failed with MDP MPs voting to vet each cabinet minister separately.
Pro-government members claimed it is crucial that the People’s Majlis fully endorse President Yameen’s cabinet in order to facilitate the government to function at its full capacity.
Pointing out that the Majlis had voted for former President Mohamed Nasheed’s cabinet as a group rather than separately, MP ‘Redwave’ Ahmed Saleem said it was “unacceptable” for the opposition to act differently now.
In reply, the MDP said the eight rejected nominees were “ministers of the coup government,” as they had served under former President Dr Mohamed Waheed after the controversial transfer of power on February 8, 2012. Nasheed had resigned amidst a police and military mutiny and his deputy Waheed assumed the presidency. MDP maintains the transfer of power is a coup d’etat
In addition to Waheed’s ministers, MDP members also refused to endorse Home Minister Umar Naseer.
Despite this being his first appointment to any cabinet position, MDP members claimed that based on various speeches he has previously given on political podiums, it is “evident that he will not be loyal to Yameen”.
All ten committee members in attendance voted to endorse the remaining seven cabinet members. These consisted of Minister of Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Dr Mohamed Shainee, Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed, Minister of Environment and Energy Thoriq Ibrahim, Minister of Education Aishath Shiham, Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Maleeh Jamal, and Attorney General Mohamed Anil.
Although Foreign Minister Dunya – Yameen’s niece and former President and PPM leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s daughter – has not held a cabinet post in Waheed’s government, she had served as State Minister of Foreign Affairs during his term.
While the committee will present its views to the parliament floor, it is the votes of the full parliament which will decide cabinet endorsement. Voting on the matter is currently scheduled for Monday, December 30.
MDP must facilitate an elected government
President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz Ali has stated that the MDP’s justification for refusing to endorse eight of the government’s cabinet ministers is “unacceptable”.
Muaz said that the MDP is the party that had advocated most for the establishment of an elected leader, and as such has the responsibility of facilitating elected President Yameen’s government to fulfill the needs of the citizens.
“MDP claims they cannot endorse these ministers as they belonged to what they say was a coup government. The fact of the matter is, even though they were previously in Waheed’s government, it is now a leader elected by the people who are re-submitting their names,” Muaz stated.
“MDP has always claimed, straight from the beginning, that they will extend cooperation to run a democratic government. Endorsing the cabinet is the best form of cooperation they can show. In any case, there is a culture of endorsing any president’s first cabinet in this country,” he continued.
“Despite the committee rejecting eight cabinet ministers, the government is confident they will receive endorsement from the parliament’s full floor. The government has a very good understanding with the leadership of MDP. And there are also discussions being held between the government and MDP on a number of matters,” Muaz said.
According to Muaz, the government and opposition are holding discussions on numerous matters including cabinet endorsement and budget approval.
Muaz said the government is continuously emphasizing the importance of cabinet endorsement and budget approval in order for the PPM to fulfill citizens’ needs, Muaz said. He also said the MDP is putting forward a number of suggestions, but declined to reveal details.
Speaking at Thursday’s Unity Day event, President Yameen has also appealed to the parliament to endorse his cabinet, urging to set aside differences in political opinion for the betterment of the nation.