The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) disciplinary committee has ordered the six MPs who violated the party’s three whip-line against dismissing two Supreme Court judges to answer to charges on Friday evening (December 19).
The party’s national council on Monday asked the committee to take disciplinary action against Vaikaradhoo MP Mohamed Nazim, Velidhoo MP Abdulla Yamin Rasheed, Mulaku MP Ibrahim Naseer, Felidhoo MP Ahmed Marzooq, Kurendhoo MP Abdul Bari Abdulla, and Hulhuhenveiru MP Reeko Moosa Manik within seven days.
Disciplinary committee Chair Mohamed Shifaz said the committee would only decide on penalties after reviewing why the six MPs failed to turn up for the vote.
The MDP’s parliamentary group had issued a three-line whip ordering all 23 MPs to be present at the Majlis to vote against dismissing former Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz and former Justice Muthasim Adnan.
The two judges were removed with 53 votes at an extraordinary sitting on Sunday (December 14). Four Jumhooree Party (JP) MPs and 17 MDP MPs opposed the vote.
Opposition leader and former President Mohamed Nasheed has suggested MPs may have been bribed. Reliable sources told Minivan News that opposition MPs were offered MVR2.5 million (US$162,000) each to be absent from the Majlis during the vote.
MP Yamin has since apologised for his absence on Twitter, saying he had left the country for Thailand before the vote was scheduled.
The MDP secretariat, however, said Yameen had initially promised to make arrangements to be present for the vote, but later said he had not been able to get a seat on the flight.
The Judicature Act amendments which reduced the seven-member Supreme Court bench to five judges, and subsequently resulted in Faiz and Muthasim’s dismissal, was first proposed by MDP MP Ibrahim ‘Mavota’ Shareef.
The MDP immediately rejected the proposal, and Shareef voted with the party line against both the amendments and the dismissal of Faiz and Muthasim.
MDP members have urged the party to penalise Shareef for proposing the bill, but the disciplinary committee said it has not received a complaint requesting action on the matter.
Shareef was expelled from the MDP in 2007 on allegations of sexual harassment. He went on to join the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) before rejoining the MDP in 2013 when the DRP decided to back Nasheed during November’s presidential polls.
Reeko Moosa Manik – who has also declared he would contest MDP’s 2018 presidential primaries – said the MDP must first take action against the national council members who voted for a previous MDP resolution to help JP Leader Gasim Ibrahim assume the presidency.
Speaking to Haveeru, Moosa said he would accept any disciplinary action taken against him “with respect” but said the party must treat all members equally.
History of disciplinary action
In January, the MDP’s disciplinary committee suspended MPs of the former Majlis Zahir Adam and Abdulla Abdul Raheem for three months for contravening a three-whip line against approving President Abdulla Yameen’s cabinet.
Four other MPs who breached the whip – MPs Mohamed Rasheed, Ahmed Rasheed, Abdulla Jabir, Ali Riza, and Ahmed Easa – were also penalised. Easa later told Minivan News that his vote in favour of tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb had been the biggest mistake of his political career.
Riza was reprimanded and asked to issue an apology by January 30, and the party decided not to take any action against Easa, stating that his actions on December 30 only constituted a first offense.
Mohamed Rasheed and Ahmed Rasheed, who had left the party at the time, were told that if they intended to rejoin MDP, they must apologise to the party’s membership and submit 50 new membership forms each.
Jabir was stripped of his position as deputy parliamentary group leader, while the party retracted his ticket for the Kaashidhoo constituency and asked him to issue a public apology.
The party’s appeals committee later re-awarded Jabir the MDP ticket claiming the the disciplinary committee could only issue a warning, levy a fine, and suspend or revoke party membership. It could not revoke a party ticket, the ruling said.
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