Deputy Speaker of Parliament MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik has appealed against the decision to expel him from the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).
Moosa described the decision as “discriminatory” as the five other MDP MPs who were absent from the vote to dismiss the Supreme Court judges were given lesser penalties, reports Haveeru.
The remaining five MPs had been ordered to issue a public apology after having breached the party’s three-line whip only once, with the party publishing the resulting letters on its website today.
Moosa’s letter is also said to have claimed that the three-line whip issued regarding the judges was in conflict with the interests of MDP’s ordinary members, also describing it as a step taken to defend the interests of a “few influential” people within the party.
The MDP’s disciplinary committee expelled Moosa on December 22 after he repeatedly breached the party’s three-line whips including the vote on the 2015 state budget, amendments to the Judicature Act – which reduced the seven-member Supreme Court bench to five, and the subsequent removal of Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz and Justice Muthasim Adnan.
If Moosa wishes to rejoin the party, he is required to issue a public apology and obtain 50 new members for the party, but he will be barred from standing for any leadership position or contesting in party primaries for five years.
Moosa has previously stated that he does not trust the party’s appeal process, and has said he will request that the Elections Commission review the decision.
Moosa’s mobile phone was switched off at the time of publication, while Ali Waheed said he did not wish to comment on the matter.
The former MDP chairperson Moosa told Minivan News last month that he felt his dismissal had been a deliberate ploy to remove him from the 2018 presidential primaries, labelling party President Mohamed Nasheed a “green dictator”.
Meanwhile Vaikaradhoo MP Mohamed Nazim, Velidhoo MP Abdulla Yamin Rasheed, Mulaku MP Ibrahim Naseer, Felidhoo MP Ahmed Marzooq, and Kurendhoo MP Abdul Bari Abdulla have apologised to the MDP and its members for violating the three-line whip on the removal of Supreme Court judges.
In the letter written by Yamin, he apologised to the party and its members “for not being able to attend, vote & not to followi [sic] whipline of the party”, assuring the “public and party leadership that, I will not repeat the mistake in the future”. The letter provided no reasons for his absence.
MP Bari stated that he was unable to attend the Majlis on the day of the Supreme Court judges removal as he had been in Colombo when the whip was issued, arguing “I have also not received the whip line with sufficient time for me to get back to Male’ to attend the parliament for voting”.
Furthermore Bari’s letter, “congratulated” the disciplinary committee for the “good work done” and stressed the need to take action against MDP MPs who have “consistently and purposely voted against the party whipline”.
Similarly, while apologising to the party and its members, Nazim stated in his letter that he was unable to attend the Majlis on December 14 as he was left with no choice but to travel abroad with his wife who required medical treatment.
While Marzooq’s letter did not provide any reasons for violating the three-line whip, he stated that he respects the decision of the disciplinary committee and that he sincerely apologises for being absent for the vote.
Marzooq also assured the MDP and its members that his decisions in parliament will not in any way damage or distress the party in the future.
In MP Naseer’s brief letter he apologised for the “damage caused to the party due to my absence”.
The MDP has said the sudden removal of the two Supreme Court Judges is an attempt to stack the judiciary in President Abdulla Yameen’s favour.
Moosa has argued that the dismissed chief justice had done great harm to the party, not least when swearing in Vice President Dr Mohamed Waheed without question following Nasheed’s controversial resignation of the presidency in February 2012.
During Faiz’s tenure, the Supreme Court bench had stripped three MDP MPs of their membership and annulled the first round of presidential elections held in September 2013, he told Minivan News following his dismissal.
Commonwealth groups have described the judges’ removal as unconstitutional, saying it constituted a clear breach of the Commonwealth Principles to which the government of Maldives has subscribed.
The International Commission of Jurists said the Maldivian parliament and executive “have effectively decapitated the country’s judiciary and trampled on the fundamental principles of the rule of law and separation of powers in a democratic State.”
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