The process of appointing cabinet members has been criticised as ‘defective’ by an Kuludufushi-South MP Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed, who has claimed that constitutional changes within the Supreme Court will be required to address the nation’s ongoing political deadlock.
The independent MP today told Minivan News that yesterday’s votes on ministerial appointments, which saw a boycott of the sitting by Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs before the approval of just five of 12 cabinet posts by the opposition majority parliament, may require court intervention before being settled.
The claims comes as Miadhu today reported that Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, head of the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), threatened to turn to the Supreme Court if the seven ministers rejected in yesterday’s vote remained in office.
Despite the stalemate over the cabinet appointment issue, MP Nasheed said parliament today functioned “normally” with a number of bills under discussion, such as the proposed strike legislation.
However, the independent MP claimed that differences of opinion, particularly between the MDP and the DRP, highlighted to all sides that there were “defects” within the constitution concerning ministerial appointments.
The appointment process remained “beyond resolution” in a highly partisan political environment.
“The [current] political environment is not conducive for a resolution within parliament,” he explained.
According to Nasheed, this difference of opinion stems from two very different processes of thought currently within parliament.
MDP rationale, Nasheed said, was that cabinet ministers could only be rejected under a motion of no-confidence that required 39 parliamentary votes to pass. However, he added, opposition groups remained unable to table possible no-confidence motions for cabinet members that had not been appointed by the Majlis.
These differences, he suggested, revealed a major defect in the appointment process.
“Only when all these processes are agreed can there be a cabinet,” he added. “I think the matter will need to be resolved through the Supreme Court.”
The President’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair told Minivan News today that parliamentary rules required 39 votes to pass a no confidence motion concerning an individual cabinet minister.
With individual voting for every appointee during yesterday’s sitting falling short of the number of votes required for a no-confidence motion, Zuhair said the President “is happy the ministers are rightfully in place.”
He claimed that ministerial appointments were “not a case of popularity, but confidence”.
All 12 cabinet ministers were reinstated to their positions in July following a protest resignation about what they claimed were the “scorched earth” politics of the opposition-majority parliament.
Despite talks of legal action from the opposition, Parliamentery Speaker Abdulla Shahid – himself a DRP MP – said he was optimistic that the rival parties could reach an “amicable solution” within the current political framework.
“I am urging parties to engage in dialogue,” said Shahid, who claimed the ministerial statemate created by yesterday’s decision would not adversely affect important upcoming legislation such passing the 2011 budget.
Shahid told Minivan News that despite its fledgling status, Maldivian democracy “had a history of engaging in dialogue to overcome political deadlocks. We will find an amicable solution.”
Despite ongoing uncertainty resulting from issues such as the cabinet appointments, Shahid added that it was vital to establish ‘customs and norms’ within the Maldives’ parliamentary proceedings.