Pandemonium broke out in the chamber tonight as Speaker Abdulla Shahid called a vote to approve a compromise reached by parliamentary group (PG) leaders over the revised composition of standing committees.
In a riotous sitting that saw Jumhooree Party (JP) MP Ibrahim Muttalib tear off his mic and opposition ‘Zed-faction’ MPs on their feet in protest, the proposal agreed upon by the PG leaders was passed with 36 votes in favour and one against.
MPs of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party’s (DRP) breakaway Z-faction and some MPs of the coalition partner People’s Alliance (PA) were gathered in front of the Speaker’s desk when the vote was taken. The MPs contended that the agenda item was tabled against parliamentary rules and did not participate in the vote.
After the result was announced, some MPs were seen screaming and chasing after their erstwhile colleague.
Minivan News understand that Shahid was unharmed after security personnel stepped in between the Speaker and irate MPs.
The Z-DRP and some PA MPs had objected that they were not consulted before the committee lists were agreed upon by PG leaders.
The revised composition of the committees and list of MPs will be announced tomorrow.
The dispute over control of voting majorities in powerful and influential committees was sparked by the defection of two opposition MPs to the ruling party in May. It has since led to forced cancellations and rendered the 12 parliamentary committees dysfunctional.
As parliamentary rules dictate proportional representation, the committee reshuffle was necessitated at the beginning of the current session in June when the MDP became the majority party with 34 seats.
The increased share of the ruling party in parliament (45 percent) had to therefore be reflected in the 11-member standing committees (45 percent or five seats).
With the DRP-PA coalition entitled to four seats, the dispute got drawn out with disagreements over filling the two remaining seats with either one of eight Independents or four minority opposition MPs (three Jumhooree Party MPs and one Dhivehi Qaumee Party MP).