Parliament has scheduled a vote of no-confidence against Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and Minister of Home Affairs Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed for April 8.
A vote to dismiss Jumhoree Party (JP) presidential candidate Gasim Ibrahim from his position within the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has also been scheduled for April 9 during a parliament session held today (March 27).
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Nazim told Minivan News that all three motions had been submitted by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).
“On the day of the vote, parliament will give the floor to the MDP to present its case. The ministers will then be given the opportunity to respond before parliament then opens the debate and votes on a decision.
“The MDP currently holds 29 seats in parliament, but it will require another ten for the ministers and Gasim to be removed from their positions. This has been undertaken before, a precedent has been previously set,” Nazim said.
The deputy speaker said that parliament had spoken to each of the party leaders in order to ask for all of their MPs to be present during the vote.
MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor stated that the party was confident both Nazim and Jameel would be removed from their posts.
In regard to the possibility of conducting no confidence votes through a secret ballot, Hamid said that he did not believe the votes would be submitted anonymously following the supreme court ruling the practice unconstitutional.
On December 3, 2012, parliament voted 41-34 to approve amendments to the parliamentary rules of procedure to conduct no-confidence votes to impeach the President and remove cabinet members through secret ballot.
However, earlier in March, the Supreme Court ruled 6-1 to strike down the amendment to parliament’s standing orders as unconstitutional.
Local media reported on Wednesday that the MDP had asked for a vote to dismiss Gasim from the JSC under the reasoning that an individual campaigning for the presidential elections, should not be permitted to sit in the commission.
Last week, parliament sent a letter to Gasim notifying him of a submitted case to remove him from his post within the JSC.
The JSC formed the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court bench that is currently presiding over the trial against former President and MDP presidential candidate Mohamed Nasheed.
Jameel failed to control peace and order in the country: MDP
In October last year, the MDP submitted its first motion against Home Minister Jameel over concerns from the party of what it called an “unprecedented” increase in murders and assault in the Maldives since the transfer of power.
Despite the MDP withdrawing the no-confidence motion against the home minister a month later in November for an unexplained reason, a second no-confidence vote was submitted by the party in December.
A statement issued by the MDP accused Jameel of failing to control civil peace and order in the country, which it said had led to the loss of eight lives.
The MDP further referred to an incident in which a man on a motorcycle was killed after a police officer struck a second motorcyclist with his baton, causing him to collide with the first.
The MDP alleged that Home Minister Jameel had tried to cover up police involvement in the death.
Speaking to Minivan News in December last year, Dr Jameel claimed he expected to successfully defend himself from the motion, as would other senior government representatives.
“[The no-confidence motion] is part of a democratic process that the government of the day must always be prepared to face. I feel it’s equally vital for those of us sitting in the government to inform the public and People’s Majlis of our performance and decisions.”
“I am sure once our side of the story is heard by the Majlis, the concerns and charges raised in the motion will become clearer and will be seen as baseless. It’s important in such a motion, in my opinion, to appear in the Majlis and fully cooperate with this democratic exercise,” he added.
Nazim misused his authority: MDP
In December 2012, the MDP filed no-confidence motions against Defence Minister Nazim, alleging that he had misused his authority as the Acting Transport Minister to influence the termination of civil contracts outside of due legal procedure.
The motion followed the government’s decision to void the agreement between itself and Indian infrastructure giant GMR over developing Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).
Defence Minister Nazim, who temporarily took over the transport ministry following the sacking of former Transport Minister Dr Ahmed Shamheed, played a pivotal role in the eviction of GMR.
In a brief interview given to local media in December following the MDP’s decision to push a no-confidence motion against him, Nazim stated that move was a “desperate” attempt to weaken the government of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik.