Speaker Abdulla Shahid urged parliamentary group (PG) leaders today to agree upon a revised composition for standing committees by the end of the day, following official notice of the People’s Alliance’s (PA) split from the main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP).
“Due to this change, according to the rules of procedure we have to carry out the task of allocating members to the Majlis’ standing committee,” he said, appealing for the parties to determine the composition by the end of the day. “A month and a half of this session has passed without any committees functioning.”
Shahid noted that with the opposition coalition dissolved, 24 MPs remained to the DRP after the departure of PA’s seven MPs.
Article 101(b) of the parliamentary rules states the number of MPs each party has “should be taken as the basis” for determining the composition of committees.
Prior to the split, the combined strength of the DRP-PA entitled the opposition coalition to 39 percent of each of the 11-member committees, or four seats in each committee.
The ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) with its 34 MPs meanwhile commands five seats (45 percent) in each committee.
MP Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Mohamed Solih, parliamentary group leader of the MDP, told Minivan News that PG leaders met today and “have reached an agreement.”
“I hope that it will be announced tomorrow,” he added.
Ibu Solih revealed that the ruling party had not demanded control of specific committees.
“In some committees, we have even let go of one of our five seats,” he said. “In any case, I hope the decision will be announced tomorrow.”
Much of the current parliament session that began in June has been consumed by disputes over committee composition, which was sparked by the defection of opposition MPs to the ruling party during the May recess.
The committee reshuffle was necessitated when the MDP became the majority party with 34 seats.
As all eight Independent MPs had a voting record favoring either the government or opposition, the parties had to agree upon which Independent MP would sit on which committee.
After weeks of forced cancellations and wrangling at the negotiation table, parliamentary group leaders reached a compromise to allow the opposition to retain control of the influential Public Accounts Committee and Government Oversight Committee.
The ruling party meanwhile won provisional control of the coveted ‘241’ Security Services Committee with MPs Ismail Abdul Hameed and Ali Mohamed chosen among three Independent MPs on the committee.
MPs of the DRP’s breakaway Z-faction however objected to both the compromise and the nature of the sitting where it was voted through, vowing to disrupt future sittings in protest.
Defending the party leadership at the time, DRP MP Rozaina Adam told press that the party had “sacrificed” its slots on some committees to allow Independents and DQP MP Riyaz Rasheed to have a seat.
Rozaina explained that two of the Independent MPs on the 241 committee were “two MPs that both sides believe to be neutral.”
Revised composition of the most influential standing committees as agreed upon on July 5,
Public Accounts Committee – five seats for MDP; four seats for DRP-PA; one seat for Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP); Eydhafushi MP Ahmed “Redwave” Saleem as the Independent MP
Economics Committee – five seats for MDP; three seats for DRP-PA; one seat for Jumhooree Party (JP); one seat for DQP; Kaashidhoo MP Ismail Abdul Hameed as the Independent MP
Independent Institutions Committee – five seats for MDP; five seats for DRP-PA; Kulhudhufushi South MP Mohamed Nasheed as the Independent MP
Government Oversight Committee – five seats for MDP; five seats for DRP-PA; one seat for JP
National Development Committee – five seats for MDP; five seats for DRP-PA; Meedhoo MP Ahmed Shiyam Mohamed as the Independent MP
National Security Committee – five seats for MDP; four seats for DRP-PA; Dhuvafaru MP Mohamed Zubair and Guraidhoo MP Ibrahim Riza as the Independent MPs
Ethics Committee – four seats for MDP; four seats for DRP-PA; one seat for JP; Meedhoo MP Ahmed Shiyam Mohamed and Kudahuvadhoo MP Ahmed Amir as the Independent MPs
’241′ Security Services Committee – four seats for MDP; two seats for DRP-PA; one seat for JP; one seat for DQP; Guraidhoo MP Ibrahim Riza, Velidhoo MP Ali Mohamed and Kaashidhoo MP Ismail Abdul Hameed as the Independent MP