The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has asked its disciplinary committee to take action against six MPs who failed to turn up for the parliamentary vote to dismiss former Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz and Judge Muthasim Adnan.
All 36 members present at the party’s National Executive Council at the Malé City Hall voted for the resolution submitted by Mohamed Ibrahim Manik.
The six MPs are 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.
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.
MDP members of Vaikaradhoo constituency issued a statement last night condemning MP Nazim’s absence from the vote, claiming he had prioritised personal interest and betrayed his constituents.
Critics have described Faiz and Muthasim’s dismissal as unconstitutional and said the move allows President Abdulla Yameen to assume total control of the judiciary and destroy the system of separation of powers.
The two were voted out with a two-thirds majority of MPs present and voting. 53 MPs of the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), coalition partner the Maldives Development Alliance and Jumhooree Party (JP) MPs voted for the move.
Four JP MPs and 17 MDP MPs voted against the dismissal. The ruling party would have required 57 votes to dismiss the judges with all 85 MPs present and voting.
Opposition leader and former President Mohamed Nasheed said organised political party activities were key to development.
“A dignified life for Maldivian citizens is possible when we are able to get organised and conduct peaceful political activities. The majority of people who support this principle are with the MDP,” he said.
He also condemned Prosecutor General Muhuthaz Muhsin’s order on the Elections Commission to take all legal action possible against the MDP for its recent resolution calling on the government to hand over the presidency to Jumhooree Party (JP) leader Gasim Ibrahim.
“The prosecutor general has spoken on a party resolution to have Gasim Ibrahim assume the presidency. This was done as per fundamental rights afforded to citizens such as freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and right to conduct peaceful political activity. No institution, including the prosecutor general, can infringe on our decision,” he said.
Moosa – who has also declared he would contest MDP’s 2018 presidential primaries – said the MDP must first take action against the members who voted for the transfer of power resolution.
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.
He has also called on MDP to reprimand the ministers who had recommended detaining Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed in January 2012, pointing out Nasheed had last month said the move was “wrong”.
“I believe first things must come first. Then only can you take action against other matters. I will accept any [disciplinary] action with respect. But I call on [on the party] to treat everyone equally in taking disciplinary action,” he said.
MDP’s disciplinary committee meeting held last night, following the national executive council’s request.
PPM parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nihan said the party would not take any action against Kulhudhuffushi MP Mohamed Nasheed from abstaining from the vote.
“This is the second time he voted against the whip line. But he did not run away, he is with us,” Nihan told CNM.
The ruling party is still in the process of compiling regulations for the 43 member parliamentary group, Nihan said. He claimed the PPM’s parliamentary group was unified, unlike the MDP’s.
All PPM MPs, except Nasheed, voted for Faiz and Muthasim’s dismissal.
Meanwhile, PPM’s Deputy Leader and Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb thanked Gasim for allowing a free whip in the vote to elect Saeed “as agreed”.
Gasim has rejected Adeeb’s claim in a tweet saying, “the whip line for the vote to remove former Chief Justice and Supreme Court Judge was based on consensus reached by JP PG group only.”
The MDP has submitted 14,500 new membership forms to the Elections Commission this year.
Related to this story