Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid has postponed the no-confidence motion against Attorney General (AG) Azima Shakoor, initially scheduled for today (October 28).
According to Majlis officials the speaker made the decision to delay for two days after Shakoor informed him that she was unwell and not able to attend the parliament session.
Article 101(b) of the constitution states that cabinet members must be given at least fourteen days notice of any debate concerning no-confidence motions against themselves, and that the individual has the right to defend themselves – both verbally and in writing – in the sittings of the People’s Majlis
Parliament received the motion on September 25, with the ensuing notice to the AG being delivered on October 1.
The motion has now been rescheduled for October 30.
Cabinet members against whom no-confidence motions are raised are allowed to sit in in the parliamentary debate on the matter. At the sitting, they are given the opportunity defend themselves against the claims raised.
An official from parliament stated that it was the cabinet minister’s decision whether or not they used the opportunity to defend themselves. He said that,while the parliament could proceed with the motion even though the minister is unable to attend, it is at the discretion of the speaker to decide to postpone the motion.
Parliament Speaker Abdulla Shahid and Consul General Fathimath Filza were not responding to calls at the time of press.
The no-confidence motion was submitted to the parliament on September 25 with the signature of 26 Members of Parliament (MPs) – 16 more than is stipulated in the constitution’s article 101(a).
The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) previously decided to pursue a no-confidence motion against the AG during a contingency meeting of the party’s National Council on September 20 .
During the debate, MDP MP Ahmed Sameer announced that the party’s parliamentary group had prepared a no-confidence motion against the AG, contending that she had neglected her duties and had advocated on behalf of a political party against the Elections Commission (EC), a state institution.
Meanwhile, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Parliamentary Group’s Deputy Leader Moosa Zameer at the time said that the party would not support the removal of a former council member of the party.
However, with the support of at least six out of ten MPs of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) – which has pledged support to MDP presidential candidate and former President Mohamed Nasheed in the upcoming election – the MDP would have enough votes in parliament to pass the no-confidence motion.
AG Shakoor was approved to her post by 38 votes in favour in parliament on July 31, with 31 MPs having voted against.
Formerly the lawyer for PPM leader and former president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Shukoor was initially appointed AG by sitting President Dr Mohamed Waheed after the controversial transfer of power in February 2012.
She was later reassigned as Minister of Family, Gender and Human Rights – an appointed which subsequently failed to gain the approval of parliament, before the President Waheed re-appointed her to her former position as AG.