MP proposes amending constitution to limit parliament to 77 MPs

MP Ahmed Amir has proposed an amendment to the Maldives Constitution that would prevent any further increase in the number of the country’s MPs, as authorities prepare to create additional constituencies to be contested during 2014’s parliamentary elections.

Haveeru has reported that the proposal was submitted by MP Amir, a senior figure within the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), after the EC announced in June that eight additional MPs would be elected next year on top of the existing 77 members.

This increase, mandated by the constitution based on population statistics received by the EC, would take the total number of lawmakers to 85 once polling scheduled for next year is compete.

Based on the basic salary and allowances MVR62,500 (US$4000) paid to the country’s MPs, local media predicted that eight additional parliamentary representatives would cost the Maldives MVR500,000 (US32,400) per month.

Representatives for the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) today dismissed MP Amir’s proposals as being of limited concern to politicians and the wider public with a presidential election just under a month away.

Meanwhile, Dr Ahmed Didi, Deputy Leader of the Jumhoree Party (JP) said he personally believed the increase in MPs next year should go ahead as mandated within the country’s constitution.

However, he said that no formal decision had been taken by the JP on the issue, with the party’s council eventual deciding whether to support a proposed increase in MP numbers.

Government Aligned Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Mahloof and Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Parliamentary Group Leader Dr Abdulla Mausoom were not responding to calls at time of press.

“Public disillusionment”

The decision create eight additional salaried parliamentarians was taken as civil society and senior political figures have raised concerns over the last year about accountability within parliament and a sense of “public disillusionment” with the country’s democratic system.

Findings compiled by NGO Transparency Maldives published shortly before last year’s controversial transfer of power found that a vast majority of a survey group of 1001 believed parliament to be the country’s “most corrupt” institution.

MDP spokesperson and MP Hamid Adbul Ghafoor told Minivan News today that proposal to limit the number of Maldivian MPs to 77 was not seen as a pressing concern for the party at present, with the general view taken that the party should try to make the constitution adopted in 2008 “work”.

“I would say this [issue] hasn’t sparked interest at a party level. As far as we are concerned the constitution says that boundaries should be withdrawn,” he said. “With the election coming we are not interested at the moment.”

When questioned over how a public reportedly disillusioned with parliament’s conduct might view an increase in the number of salaried MPs, Ghafoor dismissed suggestions there were any widespread concerns about the work of parliamentarians.

He expressed belief that parliament was “very popular” among the public compared to how the Maldives’ legislature had been viewed before the country’s first multi-party democratic election in 2008, where it operated as a body to rubber stamp the edicts of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Ghafoor was also critical of Transparency Maldives, accusing them of failing to hold parliament to account and showing transparency themselves.

“Transparency Maldives is a big joke.  You may quote me on that,” he said, accusing the NGO, which oversees projects such as Majlis (Parliament) Watch, of failing to engage with the country’s parliamentarians.

Transparency Maldives Project Director Aiman Rasheed was not responding to calls at time of press.

Ghafoor claimed that the MDP represented a ‘new order’ for democratic politics, alleging all other parties in the country that came to power in February’s controversial transfer of power representing an ‘old order’ favouring autocratic rule.

“The old order doesn’t like that it lost control [of parliament]. The only way it can gain control now is through a popular vote,” he said.

Ghafoor claimed additionally that the MDP had itself in the past tried to resist efforts by the People’s Majlis to approve increased salaries and bonuses for MPs, arguing the party had “never initiated” increasing such incentives for elected officials in the Maldives.

He added that certain MPs including himself had rejected receiving a MVR 20,000 (US$1,298) per month allowance to cover a parliamentarians phone, travel, and living expenses.


11 thoughts on “MP proposes amending constitution to limit parliament to 77 MPs”

  1. I propose to get rid of Parliament altogether. I believe that this Parliament has been the biggest waste of public money in the entire history of the country. The productivity level of these MPs is less than 1%.

    What's the point of their existence?

  2. We should go to a referendum model. Dissolve parliament and empower every citizen so that they can raise national issues. The whole country then can take the decision on whether to agree or disagree.

    That's a whole lot more democratic than transparent than the present "monkey house" system we have. Will referenda be more expensive? I don't think so, given the billions wasted on that baboon cage, i.e. Majlis.

  3. Actually we need to teach people what was the role of parliament when muslims practiced islam to the fullest. That time parliament consisted of the most eminent personalities of that time. the sahaaba of Badr who were forgiven by God. Their role was to give verdict on matters of law when it has to be deduced from Quruan and sunnah.

    Its not the parliaments business to run
    half of government or to harass the ruler. This innovation of ruling system was sadly incoporated to our majlis by the laadheenee baigandu when they lost the vote of barulamaanee.

  4. "The productivity level of these MPs is less than 1%."

    LOL! Nothing more to add to that!

  5. The MDP will win all those new seats. So, yeah , don't have them. better to eliminate the MDP, no ?

  6. I fully agree to Suvadheeb.

    Scandals, swindling, corruption, blatant lying, political-prostitution are rampant in the Parliament House. That's a FACT.

    We made pretty dumb decisions in the past. But, electing a set of monkeys for the parliament, creams it all.

    The question is, what can we do to get rid of them? Any ideas?

  7. @human being on Sat, 10th Aug 2013 8:06 PM

    "Their role was to give verdict on matters of law when it has to be deduced from Quruan and sunnah."

    You cannot compare 7th century Arabia with the world today. How do you deduce something that's not in the Quran or Sunnah? Yes, there are a lot of things that do not exist in the Quran or Sunnah. You cannot manufacture something out of nothing, except possibly the Universe itself.

    Penicillin isn't in the Quran or Sunnah. Neither are X-rays, MRI or 4G mobile telecoms. Firstly, let's try to enforce what's definitely IN the Quran. Can we put porn star Ali Hameed on trial? Then, we can talk about extrapolating from the Quran and Sunnah!

  8. @human being on Sat, 10th Aug 2013 8:06 PM

    "Actually we need to teach people what was the role of parliament when muslims practiced islam to the fullest."

    Here's a question for you. Do you know how long Muslims "practised Islam to the fullest"? Let's start with that.

    Why were Caliphs Umar, Usman and Ali murdered? Full practise of Islam, was it?

    Do you know who introduced hereditary rule amongst Muslims? It was Muawiya bin Abi Sufyan. Was that according to the 'fullest" practise of Islam?

    Why was Hussein ibn Ali slaughtered in front of his family? Where was the Quran and Sunnah then?

  9. Citizens get the MP's and government they deserve ... a parliament is the elected representation of the citizens. We don't need to abolish the parliament - which would lead to another authoritarian system. Instead, we must make OUR MP's accountable for their deeds, for what they talk on our behalf.
    Only in 2009 we had the first ever democratic elections, in a society which was not used to any democracy, with citizens who did not know yet how to handle democracy.
    In a few months more, we will have opportunity to rectify. THEN you have to stand up, to speak up. Then you have to vote for people who WILL take responsibility for the next steps in making Maldives a free and democratic country.

  10. If proportional representation needs to b e achieved, but the country's gdp is not growing along with the population. That would mean if increase in MP is done with the the current salary structure approves for parliamentarians Maldives would be spending an even greater % of gdp on MP even today we are on the top of the list of countries who spend a greater % of gdp on mp's. Ironically we have one of the most dysfunction, incompatent, corrupt useless parliaments.

    The best option would be to increase the number of citizens each member represents, thus requiring fewer members. Since there is a elected local council this would be best. In line I would prefer the salary be reduced and restructured as well, we all lnow thats never happening with the current parliament, who sets their own salary.


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