President Mohamed Waheed has ratified the two controversial bills – the Parliament’s Privileges Bill and Political Parties Bill – despite previous claims that the two bills had several lapses and “unconstitutional” elements.
Following the President’s initial vetoing of the two bills, parliament last Tuesday by a house majority overruled the presidential veto and forced the bill into law, giving the president no option but to ratify the bills – one of which would see the dissolution of his own political party.
The bill took a week before it was ratified, with parliamentary group leaders of all major political parties condemning the government for “delaying the ratification of the bill”.
The leaders claimed that Waheed – whose party Gaumee Iththihaadh Party (GIP) is among the first few parties that would be dissolved under the Political Parties Act if it became law – had a personal interest in delaying the bills.
During a ceremony held in President’s office, President Mohamed Waheed after ratifying the bill stated that he did not believe the bill was delayed in ratifying.
According to the President, the bill had been delayed due to certain punctuation errors that needed to be rectified by the parliament before it was ratified.
He stated that the government received the bill on last Thursday but had sent it back as it contained “major punctuation errors”. This, Waheed said, was the cause of delay as the government had only received a ‘punctuation-error free’ version of the bill on Monday.
“I got the corrected bill yesterday after I had sent it to the parliament on Monday. I have to go through the changes before I sign it. Therefore, I do not believe that [the bills] have been delayed to the extent where some parties should go on strike,” he said.
“It is not that we are facing a huge crisis or a world ending. Neither are we facing a medical pandemic here. So I don’t see a reason for me to rush things,” he added.
Waheed contended that the passage of the bill did not concern a financial crisis or the destruction of a person, and argued that he was not purposely delaying the passage of the bills.
Responding to the concerns raised by political party leaders regarding the bill, President Waheed said he respected the parliament, unlike other political leaders, and claimed that on March 4 (Parliament Opening Day) people would know “who did not respect who”.
“I have been working to uphold the law and the constitution from day one. To uphold the rule of law. So what PPM MP Abdulla Yameen said was said very irresponsible,” he said referring specifically to the PPM’s presidential hopeful and half brother of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Waheed added that he was advised by Attorney General Azima Shukoor to ratify the bills despite the legal and constitutional inconsistencies.
In the meantime, Shukoor said that the government had withdrawn its previous case challenging the political parties’ bill, but stated that she would file the case again as soon as the bills are signed into law.
“We will seek a temporary stay order against the Elections Commission to withhold the immediate dissolution of political parties that failed to attain the required numbers in terms of membership,” she said.
Deputy Solicitor General Ahmed Usham earlier told local media that ratification of the Political Parties Bill meant political parties that do not have the required number of members would be dissolved without any transitional period.
According to Usham, the state has requested the Supreme Court issue a writ that would prevent dissolution of the parties prior to a court decision or until a transitional mechanism is set up.
“Referring to the legal principles employed in other democratic societies, dissolution of a political party that is formed in accordance with the law is only given on very exceptional occasions,” he said at time.
Shukoor was on Tuesday quoted in the local media saying that the government had withdrawn a case it had filed challenging the Parliament’s Privileges Bill as well.
However, she did not give any detail as to what clauses in the bill did the government intend to challenge.
The Attorney General said that she had received concerns from Maldives Police Service regarding the privileges bill and would once again challenge the bill as soon as it is signed into law, and this time “include the concerns raised by police”.
Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz in an interview given to local media earlier expressed concern over the Parliament’s Privileges bill, claiming the MPs are now “technically immune from the law”
Commissioner Riyaz claimed that the act gives enormous privileges to parliamentarians – privileges that are not even given to former presidents, which he said was “very concerning” and meant there would be no equality before the law.
“The [act] says that no person should indulge in an act that obstructs the work of the parliament. I really don’t comprehend what it is trying to say. I don’t think anybody would know beforehand what the parliament may decide to do. I don’t believe that is possible,” he said
Earlier a joint press statement issued by parliamentary group leaders of all major political parties called on the president to respect the constitution and ratify the two bills without any further delay.
Parliamentary group leaders including Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s MP Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Jumhoree Party (JP) Leader Gasim Ibrahim and Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali had all expressed concern over the delaying of the ratification of the bill.
5 thoughts on “President Waheed ratifies controversial bills as AG vows to challenge in court”
These bills were passed just to get them high
According to the Parliament Privileges bill, even if a Member of Majilis is convicted of a crime in court, such as embezzlement of public funds, theft or assault, law enforcement officials are required to release the Majilis members so they can attend majilis sessions.
what a corrupted society this Maldives is turning into ! Ordinary people who commit theft have to serve their sentences. But our distinguished majilis members now apparently do not have to serve prison terms according to this new law that they passed !
Will publishing this comment in Minivan mean i will face trial for defaming majilis ?
A sad day for this country, it's people, average folk. The law does not apply to these MP's now, as they have granted themselves unconstitutional powers. In fact what is the constitution? And what is the law? They chart the law, it is clear they have done so to their benefit and advantage. If this constitution allows such powers and wealth to these people, then it must be changed. Instead of one Maumoon Gayyoom, now we have 77 Maumoon's in Parliament (no?). They will operate with gross impunity now. We were indifferent, and they have run away with all the nations loot.
These are highway-robbers who want to be in designer suits. Each of them hv crowned themselves 'kings' now.
Politicians are united and armed with furious rhetoric on this matter. They are working together on this. They are hiding behind 'the mandate they have from the people- the power they seek from the people'. They know the public is still naive and politically immature, it is easy to "convince" them of anything, anyway, which-way. Its all about spinning words the right way. Whatever they say or write, their support-bases will follow. It's love you know; love between people and politicians. Love because they feel Maumoon-the-geat-satan only could be capable of such a treachery as stealing from the people.
"Our politicians will never dupe us- its the other Party politicians who are the impostors"- roadside chit-chat.
The Vox populi should know Democracy as an institution can also become a dictatorship. A working class revolution has or is becoming thus a plutocracy now (there is a real danger of that). the problem is it is difficult to organize even a political movement without money- and those that step in with assurances of backing end up becoming the dictatorship themselves. When that happens or is happening we are reluctant to acknowledge our own fault or guilt in letting that happen. This is what s happening now.
It may take another decade, but the heads of these MP's will also roll, eventually. We'l make lists of them, starting now.
MP's in Parliament feel they should have the same mandate, powers and "privileges" that the President, Prime Minister or Cabinet members are being entitled to. This is an inter-quarrel between these factions- it's to do with ego basically!
It's about displaying your trophies, your garments and these "privileges" now at their disposal- at each other.
A sad crying shame... What privileges when a school teacher or fisherman is left to fend for himself.... MP's should be humble servants to the people. Without honour and privilege to the people they may not be privy to Anything (let alone 'privileges).
We are not saying deny them everything. They are carefully hiding behind this. What they receive should be as per the means of this destitute nation. They cannot become 77 Kings on behalf of the people! .......... Why do they need tro have free healthcare in ASEAN Countries??? Average people go to IGMH or Trivandrum. MP's should deserve no better.
Of course now they feel powerful; what can one comment on Minivannews do about this? Also it is clear they have rendered themselves 'untouchable' and now wish to hold 'others' to account before the law- in these Parliamentary Oversight Committees. These gangsters are now above the law and they want to inflict the law on others from the high podium they sit on.
This is a sad day for this country. The people have been taken for ride by this group known as MP's. We will mobilize against this, it is only a matter of time.
Let us see whether they have what it takes to go about in public, without our glares and cold-looks on them. This might be ineffectual though, they want to see whether we have what it takes to get a confession out of them. Have they done what we know they have done?
They will get away with this, if we are unable to mount an effective defense on our arguments. They have perfected their defense you see. Apparently the IPU thinks it's okay to rob the people like this, and grant themselves such ungodly powers.
This is war, MP's, understand?
This Attorney General Azima Shakoor is the most dumbest cabinet minister ever in the history of Maldives. She should be replaced by someone who is more competent and capable. She did not properly assess the implications of unilaterally annulling the GMR contract, which is perfectly understandable since this woman dos not properly understand law. Before she used to pick on the brain of her ex-husband Didi now that Didi has got rid of her, there is no such fall back at her disposal. Being the cradle snatcher she is, she cannot pick on the young boy she is now hanging around with. Apparently, this young weatherman is oblivious to the kind of body odors emanating from the well-endowed lady, who pampers him with the lullabies during bed time.
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