MDP sets eight conditions for backing candidate for Majlis speaker

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has set eight conditions for supporting a candidate for the Speaker of the 18th People’s Majlis.

Following a meeting of the party’s executive national council in Addu City, the MDP revealed in a statement yesterday (May 23) that the party’s 25 MPs-elect would back a candidate who supports eight main policy objectives:-

  • Removing obstacles for access to justice and reforming the judiciary
  • Empowering local councils and amending the Decentralisation Act to enable councils to generate income
  • Establishing a minimum wage
  • Strengthening social security and the ‘Aasandha’ health insurance scheme to ensure coverage for all citizens
  • Assuring investor confidence in business transactions with the state
  • Working with the MDP to “resolve the international problems that have arisen due to the cancellation of the contract to develop the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport.”
  • Introducing an income tax, maintaining the Tourism Goods and Services Tax at eight percent and eliminating import duties
  • Removing obstacles to expanding the guest house business, which is the “quickest route to eradicating poverty.”

The main opposition party contested the parliamentary elections in March on a platform of judicial reform and empowerment of local councils.

With the next speaker due to be elected through secret ballot at the first sitting of the newly-elected parliament on Wednesday (May 28),  the question of which party should control the post of speaker has led to tension within the ruling coalition.

While Jumhooree Party (JP) Leader Gasim Ibrahim has announced his bid for the speaker’s post, President Abdulla Yameen has said repeatedly that the speaker should be a member of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

The Progressive Coalition – made up of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Jumhooree Party (JP) and Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) – secured 53 out of 85 seats in the March 22 parliamentary polls.

The MDP won 26 seats while independent candidates won five seats and the religious conservative Adhaalath Party won one seat.

Three independent candidates along with MDP MP-elect for the Thimarafushi constituency, Mohamed Musthafa, have since signed for the PPM, bringing the ruling party’s numbers up to 37 and securing a two-thirds majority for the coalition.

However, neither party on its own has enough MPs-elect to reach the 43-vote simple majority.

While the PPM and MDA is one vote short of the simple majority with 37 seats and five seats respectively, the JP and MDP falls three votes short with 40 seats.

Meanwhile, PPM MPs Ahmed Mahloof and Ahmed Nihan revealed in the wake of the parliamentary elections that the pair had pledged their support for Gasim’s bid to become speaker during negotiations for forming the Progressive Coalition ahead of last year’s presidential election runoff.

Moreover, former President Mohamed Nasheed – acting president of the MDP – signalled the opposition party’s support for Gasim following a meeting at the business tycoon’s residence last month.

The PPM has meanwhile yet to announce the party’s choice for the speaker’s post. However, PPM MPs-elect Ahmed Nazim – deputy speaker of the outgoing parliament – and Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed have expressed interest in becoming the next speaker.

The ruling party appears to be divided over which MP to nominate for the post with Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb – deputy leader of the PPM – claiming  that allegations of corruption that surfaced in the press last week were linked to his refusal to support certain individuals for the speaker’s post.

Speaking to Minivan News on Thursday, Adeeb dismissed the allegations as an unfair “defamation attempt.”

Adeeb later told newspaper Haveeru that PPM MP Nazim was behind the corruption allegations, which are currently under investigation by both the Anti-Corruption Commission and auditor general’s office.

Adeeb said he could not back Nazim’s bid to become speaker as he was suspected of “blackmail” and “corruption” and declared his support for Maseeh.

“This problem [corruption allegations] has come up because my stand is strong inside the PPM. I am accused of these things because I take the stand that is most beneficial to the country. And because I have influence within PPM,” he alleged.

“This is a political ploy to defame myself, PPM and the government. This has been done to blackmail me in order to politically twist the Majlis speaker issue a certain way.


10 thoughts on “MDP sets eight conditions for backing candidate for Majlis speaker”

  1. One word comes to mind here... incestuous. It pretty much sums up the whole mess here.

  2. MDP's conditions are good apart from some questionable ones:

    (1) What "international problems" have arisen due to the GMR contract cancellation? The matter is now in the hands of the Singapore arbitration court. That's that. The Maldivian government will have to comply with the outcome of a judgment from there.

    (2) Enabling councils to generate income. On paper this is a sound and good idea so that the benefits of proper decentralisation can be felt by the islanders. However, as have been revealed many times, the local councils are inept and very corrupt. This was so when MDP was in power too.

    Unless, there is serious reform of judicial system and a better and more powerful anti-corruption commission in place, this is not going to work. The money generated by the councils will simply disappear into the councillors' pockets.

    You can say that the councillors benefit too rather than a select few politicians currently sitting in Male! But the public at large will lose.

    MDP has not shown a credible handle on corruption whilst in power.

  3. A compromise way out of the situation is Qasim signing up for PPM as a member

    An added bonus would be the honorary title of ' Nations Hero' or Gaumee Bathal... Some may even Forget a little tourism tax evasion and corruption here are there..

    It ain't pretty but a solution is a solution !!!!!

  4. .... Or alternatively, PPM agrees to MDPs 8 conditions and sideline Qasim from politics for ever

  5. Totally disagree with points two, three and six. Point one is spot on, and most urgently needed for peace and stability and to prevent corruption and crime from getting worse. Local councils need not be empowered more than as administrative centers. This is a small country with a small population, no need for complications that are going to cost the overall population and benefit the corrupt only. And let GMR go, the damage is already done, no need to get them back, but better watch out what other inside deals are going to go on when this governments signs a contract with foreign parties for the airport, after all, some of those ministers in the cabinet in this government is not any less (if not more) corrupt than some who were in MDP government either. And Maseeh as Speaker is just a joke. He will only be a puppet, nothing more.

  6. It must be simply one point required for Majlis to recognize and MDP should put forward; a secular modern government and economic freedom to every atoll in Maldives. This is the only thing that no one can think of and the only thing without that you can’t event think for any progress for these tiny isolated, under developed and caged people. Every atoll needs, it is own airport, port, tourism and local governments with secular tolerant and liberal people.

  7. Today Investors are more confident in the country than 3 years Nasheed regime.

    Whether Nasheed and his thugs believe or not, this is a fact.

    GMR deal a corrupt deal and Nasheed and big thugs had taken a huge bribe out of then deal and they were only thinking about themselves and never about the nation.

    3 years was good enough if Nasheed ever genuinely wanted to have a minimum wage, but never bothered to do when in power. Why now ?

    This is guy will talk something else and do something else two tongue man and Man of violence.

  8. On the minimum wage, I want to say that there are more important things that must be done before setting a minimum wage, including making wages in line with productivity, across the private sector as well as the public sector. The minimum wage should not be treated as a welfare payment. That would be a big mistake which will very likely cause unemployment, especially for those who fit the minimum wage category. Don't play with the economy anymore to win in politics. We are not in a position to test and experiment when we don't have a safety net.

  9. @mariyam is right

    Maldivian state should stop relying on cliches and slogan like Minivan wage, death penalty, human rights, democracy, gender bias.. you know all catch phrases.

    Make no mistake. Modernisation requires adjustment according to circumstances. Political correctness and slogan chanting is not the positive and smart way to change things.

    Minimum wage is ofcourse essential. But there are more fundamental things that need to be addressed first like poor productivity, wage disparities etc..

  10. What “international problems” have arisen due to the GMR contract cancellation? The matter is now in the hands of the Singapore arbitration court.

    That's one huge international problem. Maldives is stuck between a rock and a hard place - no matter what the court decides, it is Maldivians that will suffer for decades to come.

    1) Option 1- payment. We get strapped with a debt that outstrips our GDP.

    2) Option 2- nonpayment. We lose investor confidence. Hard. Singapore loses investor confidence too.

    Yeap. We're screwed. No thanks to the dheenattakaa gaumattakaa baigandu.


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