Parliament has confirmed the legitimacy of his administration, President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan has contended.
Addressing the Majlis on April 2, Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim said, “President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan took oath of office in Majlis on 07 February 2012, and has delivered the presidential address as per the constitution on 19 March 2012. Hence, the People’s Majlis believes the transfer of power on February 7 was constitutional.”
The ousted President Mohamed Nasheed said he was forced to resign at “gunpoint,” and has raised questions over Waheed’s legitimacy. Nasheed has called for early general elections.
Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) sought to obstruct Waheed from addressing parliament on March 1 and March 19. Waheed only managed to deliver a shortened version of the presidential address amidst loud heckling by MDP MPs in the Majlis chamber while MDP supporters and police clashed violently outside. During the speech an MP held up a placard declaring Waheed a ‘coup boss’.
In a statement on Monday, Dr Waheed said he welcomed the decision and “called on all parties to redouble their efforts to bring stability, security and prosperity to the Maldives.”
However, MDP parliamentary group’s deputy leader Ahmed Sameer said the deputy speaker had no authority to make rulings on behalf of the Majlis.
“The Majlis makes decisions after a debate and a vote. There has been no debate and no vote on the matter. A debate on the legitimacy of the government hasn’t even been put on the agenda,” Sameer said.
“That the deputy speaker can unilaterally rule on this matter is a joke and is against the Majlis house rules,” he added.
Majlis minutes reveal Nazim only made the ruling after MPs repeatedly debated the transfer of power instead of addressing the issues on the agenda for the day. Nazim repeatedly asked MPs to return to topic, but to no avail.
During debate over an amendment to the Judges Act to include retirement benefits and privileges, MDP MP Ali Waheed expressed concern over the events surrounding the transfer of power on February 7, and called on the Deputy Speaker to pass a resolution for public referendums to establish coup had taken place and to hold elections.
In response Nazim said, “Since some MPs are addressing the Speaker on the transfer of power, I believe I now have to issue a ruling on the matter.”
After claiming Waheed’s administration was legitimate, Nazim asked MPs not to address the Speaker any further on the matter.
MDP refuses to recognise Waheed’s administration, and have called for an impartial and independent investigation with international oversight into the transfer of power. The Commonwealth, the EU and local civil society groups have supported the call for investigation.
Dr Waheed instituted a three member Committee of National Inquiry (CNI) to look into the legality and legitimacy of the transfer of power, but the CNI has come under fire for unilateralism and lack of independence. Moreover, the CNI has said it will not be conducting a criminal investigation.
Waheed told local television station Villa TV (VTV) he would resign and reinstate Nasheed if inquiry established a coup.