Parliament approves MDP proposal for speaker to assume presidency after November 11

Parliament today approved a proposal by the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) parliamentary group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih for the speaker of parliament to assume the presidency in the absence of a president-elect by midnight on November 10.

Today’s sitting was held in response to a letter to Speaker Abdulla Shahid from President Dr Mohamed Waheed requesting parliament “to take initiative in finding a solution to any legal issues that will arise if a new president is not elected by the end of the current term [on November 11].”

As a possible second round of the presidential election has been scheduled by the Elections Commission (EC) for November 16, President Waheed’s letter (Dhivehi) noted that “there is a possibility there might not be a president elected in accordance with article 111 of the constitution.”

Solih’s proposal, seconded by MDP Chairperson and Hulhuhenveiru MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik, was passed with 39 votes in favour and one abstention. MPs of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and Jumhooree Party (JP) did not participate in the vote, claiming that the proposal was unconstitutional.

In the event that a new president is not elected by November 11, the motion states, “The Speaker of Parliament shall carry out the duties of the President until a person can be elected to the office.”

As interim president, the speaker “shall have all powers granted to the President by the constitution.”

The motion added that if the speaker cannot assume the office, the duties shall pass to the deputy speaker. If both are unable, a member of parliament elected by a resolution shall assume the presidency.

Moreover, the motion stipulates that a presidential election and, if necessary, a second round run-off election should take place within 21 days of the speaker assuming the role of caretaker president.

The new president-elect and vice president-elect must take the oath of office no more than 18 hours after the EC announces the official results of the election.

A second motion proposed by MDP MP Ali Waheed to grant authority and discretion to the speaker to expedite decisions required by parliament “to prepare for  the interim period” was passed with 37 votes in favour, two against and one abstention.

Speaker Shahid joined the MDP in April.

“State of necessity”

Article 124(b) of the constitution states, “In the event of the permanent incapacity, resignation, removal or death of both the President or the Vice President, and both offices becoming vacant at the same time, leading to an incapacity to carry out the duties of the President, until such time as a President and a Vice President shall be elected, the duties of both offices shall temporarily be carried out, in order of priority, by the Speaker of the People’s Majlis, or by the Deputy Speaker of the People’s Majlis, or by a member of the People’s Majlis elected by a resolution of the People’s Majlis, until successors in office are chosen.”

During today’s parliamentary debate, PPM MPs contended that the Speaker cannot assume the presidency without amending the constitution as there was no constitutional provision for the state of affairs in the absence of a president-elect after the expiry of the five-year presidential term.

Dhivehi Qaumee Party MP Riyaz Rasheed said if parliament passed the MDP’s proposal, he would file a case at the Supreme Court to invalidate it.

JP MP Ilham Ahmed meanwhile proposed that the military should take over if presidential elections are not concluded by November 11.

As the constitution states that the security services are established “to enable all Maldivians to live in peace, security and freedom,” Ilham said he believed executive powers should be handed to the security services, consisting of the police and military.

The JP deputy leader added that he could see “as clear as broad daylight” an impending takeover “by the benevolence of Allah.”

PPM MP Ahmed Shareef recommended referring the matter to the Supreme Court for legal advice, while MP Ali Arif declared the PPM’s support for President Waheed remaining in the post after November 11.

Speaking at a rally on Friday night, PPM presidential candidate Abdulla Yameen reportedly said it would be “irresponsible” for President Waheed to resign before a new president was elected.

The PPM parliamentary group leader called on President Waheed to remain in the post and cease making statements about resigning, adding that it was the PPM that “maintained your government.”

MP Arif noted that the Supreme Court stated in its judgment annulling the September 7 election that the current president could remain in the absence of a president-elect.

“If extra time beyond that given by the constitution is needed, under the principle of necessity, to complete a specific task as specified in the constitution, it does not necessitate the end of a legal government in place. That such a government will continue to exist under the doctrines of ‘state of necessity’ and ‘continuity of legal government’ under such circumstances is recognised by both constitutional and legal jurisprudence,” the Supreme Court stated in the case summary of its judgment.

Independent MP for Kulhudhufushi Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed said that the current administration could not continue after November 11, suggesting that a constitutional amendment was necessary to specify a process to be followed in the absence of a president-elect.

Nasheed cautioned that any motion or resolution passed by parliament in lieu of a constitutional amendment could be overruled by the Supreme Court. The independent MP abstained in both votes today.


11 thoughts on “Parliament approves MDP proposal for speaker to assume presidency after November 11”

  1. Pfffft!

    A total waste of time. Don"t you realise you are living in a dictatorship?

    At Midnight on 10th the SC will have another one of their midnight bun feasts. They will rule that Waheed continue or even better 'Gay' Oom should come out of retirement in the interim until the election finally rakes place 2-3 decades down the road, handing over to his crook of a son, when he croaks.

    The SC after this midnight meeting will then strip to their underpants, bring in some Thai girls get a good seeing to and then arrange for the army to arrest all who voted for the Speaker to take control.
    Arrested in contempt of the 'underpants!'

  2. @ Private tourist well said. Not to mention that while the midnight partying is going on, PPM and JP will shout at the top of their voice that they are doing all this for the sake of Religion.

  3. And what makes Nasheed and MDP think they can trust MP Shahid after assuming caretaker presidency?

    After assuming powers Shahid would have no need of MDP and would rush to consolidate power, perhaps a deal with PPM !!!!!????

    It may not be too away when MDP protests against Shahid.

  4. parliament has no rights to do this. if they want , then they need to change the constitution quickly to make this applicable .

    Just passing a motion will not require to executive to hand over the responsibility to parliament .

    Go and read what is written in the constitution.

  5. (1) If you don't have the mental capacity to read the Constitution then don't bother talking about it.

    (2) The Constitution is crystal clear on what has to happen and when.

    (3) On the 11th of November, if a new President cannot be sworn in, the seat becomes vacant and whoever was sitting there is no longer in a position to carry out his duties. And what does the Constitution say about that? If and whenever the President and his (symbolic) deputy are incapacitated in performing their duty, there is a clear line of succession. We just have to follow that.

    (4) Gasim may not be able to read too well into that, but Yameen knows precisely what the Constitution says and doesn't say. But, as we all know, as far as Gay and his party are concerned they can declare night to be day!

  6. Shahid can dream of becoming the President ?

    MDP can not continue to make parliament house as the hiding place for criminals.

    MDP will never be able to win much seats in the upcoming parliament election in 2014 .

    90% of the existing MP will never be able to get re-elected in 2014.

  7. People of the Maldives, and the world itself are watching!
    And they are not ready to accept what everyone is feeding them!
    So if Abdullah Shaid, or anyone for that matter does it right, it will be right!
    If anyone does it wrong, I cannot see the people of the Maldives, and the rest of the world are going to wait with arms folded!
    When the wish of the people is known, it is not possible to think nothing much can happen!

  8. am astonished that some of the commentators talking about a 2014 Parliamentarian elections as if there ever will be a one. When do you boys learn...


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