Expressing concern that President Abdulla Yameen may be incapable of carrying out his duties, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has requested the President’s Office to provide details on Yameen’s health and visits to Singapore.
In a letter to Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed today, MDP Deputy Chairperson Ali Shiyam asked the President’s Office to publicise details of the number of official and unofficial visits Yameen had undertaken to Singapore since he assumed office in November 2013.
The MDP also asked for details on the number of days Yameen spent in Singapore, the number of individuals who accompanied the president, the amount of money spent from the state budget, and details of the president’s health.
Yameen is currently in Singapore on an unofficial visit. He left the country with First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim on January 7. The President’s Office did not reveal details of the president’s arrival.
Yameen has travelled to Singapore at least five times between July 29 and the end of November last year. This includes two stop-overs in Singapore – one in August and one in November – on the way to China and Nepal, respectively.
Opposition leader and former President Mohamed Nasheed first raised concerns over the president’s health in October.
During Malé’s water crisis in December, the MDP passed a resolution claiming the government had failed to perform its duties and declaring support for Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim to assume power.
“The country is under a very dark cloud at the moment,” said Nasheed at the time. “The president is not fulfilling presidential duties and ruling in absentia. So it is better for him to handover governance to Gasim Ibrahim.”
Yameen had been in Singapore then, but cut short his unofficial trip and returned to Malé. The capital’s 130,000 residents had been left without running water due to a fire at the water plant.
The President’s Office has since denied reports of ill-health, including a rumour that the president was undergoing brain surgery.
Ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives has condemned the resolution as irresponsible, while the prosecutor general has requested the Elections Commission to take all possible legal action against the MDP for the resolution.
In today’s letter, the MDP suggested the country was facing a state outlined in Article 123 and 124 of the Constitution where the president was incapable of fulfilling the duties of his office.
Article 123 states if the president believes himself temporarily unable to perform the duties and responsibilities of office, he should inform the Speaker of the People’s Majlis in writing and handover duties and responsibilities to the vice president.
If the president is unable to perform duties and responsibilities of the office and is not able to inform the Speaker of the People’s Majlis in writing due to the nature of the inability, the vice president must do so with the approval of the majority of the cabinet and assume responsibilities.
Article 124 states the speaker or deputy speaker must carry out the duties of the presidency if both the president and vice president are absent or temporary incapable of performing the responsibilities of the office of the president.
The president can resume responsibilities after informing the speaker.
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