MDP National Council votes to investigate manipulation of party’s constitution

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s Gaumee Majilis (National Council) has passed a resolution to investigate an alleged ‘manipulation’ of its constitution on Tuesday.

In the National Council meeting held on Tuesday, the report of the committee formed within the party to investigate the matter was presented to the meeting by the chair of the committee Mohamed Waheed, who was also the former Minister of State for Health and Family during Nasheed’s administration.

Presenting his report to the council, Waheed stated that the committee found that the constitution had been manipulated as it differed from the original version of the party constitution that had been passed in the Party’s last congress, held on October 2010.

According to Waheed, there were two significant changes brought to the party constitution, both to the advantage of the two senior positions of the party – President and Vice President.

The amendments allegedly included in the constitution involved article 40 concerning about the party (shadow) cabinet. The second involved article 78, concerning the highest authority of the party when in opposition.

Waheed said that the committee had found that two articles were not included in the original version of the party constitution.

The article 40 of the allegedly manipulated constitution states: “The policies set by the Congress shall be executed by the Party Cabinet. The Party Cabinet shall be appointed by the Party President.”

The article 78 of the same document reads: “The President of the Party is the highest position of the party. He shall also be the highest authority in politically representing the party and carrying out the political activities of the party. However, he shall execute his duties within and in accordance with the principles of the party, which includes that his actions be in a democratic and transparent matter. He shall not execute his authorities in contrary to the party principles. The term of the Party President is five years.”

Speaking to Minivan News on Tuesday, Waheed briefly outlined what he described as a scandal.

“I remember very clearly that the version originally passed in the congress did not include a party cabinet, and did not include the phrase that the party president was the highest authority when the party was in opposition,” Waheed said.

“During the congress the powers of the Party President and Vice President were delegated to the Chairperson and the Parliamentary Group leader. But the amendment to remove the post of party president and vice president did not pass, therefore the two positions remained as ceremonial positions since their powers had been delegated.

“But the party constitution has been manipulated and now includes stipulations that were not originally included in the party constitution. For instance, see the powers that are included for the party president in the version available on the party website. It contradicts with the powers of the chairperson,” he said.

Vice President of the Party and MP Alhan Fahmy was the only member in the council who spoke against the report, citing that the findings  presented by the committee were untrue and that no changes had been brought to the party constitution.

He also stressed that the matters involving the party constitution and that the party congress was  the only body vested with the power to bring any changes to it.

Speaking in support of the report, the re-elected Parliamentary Group Leader and MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, said  the valid party constitution the party has to follow should be the one that was passed in the last congress of the party.

He also claimed that the findings in the report were true and that  article 40 and 78 had not been included in the original constitution of the party when it was passed.

There were also calls from some members of the council, including MP Mohamed Shifaz,  for an extraordinary congress, however debate did not materialise in the meeting.

With regard to the submission of the report, two resolutions were passed.

The first resolution was presented by the former Legal Director of the President’s Office Hisaan Hussain, which was passed by majority of 36 votes.

The resolution stated that the MDP shall view the party constitution that was passed during the last Congress as its official constitution and that this be submitted to the Elections Commission as the official constitution of the Maldivian Democratic Party.

The second resolution was presented by the former Minister of Human Resources, Youth and Sports, Hassan Latheef, which passed with a majority of 39 votes.

The resolution stated that the matter of ‘manipulation’ of the party constitution be looked into by the relevant organs of the party, and action taken by the party against those who were found guilty.

Another resolution was forwarded by Waheed, proposing to delay the previously agreed Presidential Primary of the Party in preparation for the ‘potential’ early elections that may take place in 2012.

The resolution also proposed that the election of the vacant positions of Party Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson (Administrative) be held on 16 June 2012.

However, Waheed withdrew the resolution after newly elected MDP Deputy Parliamentary Group (PG) leader MP Ali Waheed suggested that the matter be decided after former president Nasheed concluded his trip to the United States.

MDP also yesterday held its Parliamentary Group elections for this year, electing the current PG Leader MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih for another term while MP Mohamed Aslam and MP Ali Waheed were elected as Deputy Leaders.