Speaker of parliament survives MDP-initiated no-confidence motion 45:25

Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid has survived the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) initiated no-confidence motion.

In the vote taken on Tuesday, 45 out of the 74 parliament members present in the sitting voted in favour of Speaker Shahid and 25 voted against him. Two members abstained.

Surprisingly, government-aligned Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) MP Riyaz Rasheed voted in favour of removing Shahid despite speaking against the motion, while MDP MPs Hassan Adil and Ahmed Rasheed voted against their party line. MDP MPs Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed and MP Ali Riza abstained. A fifth MDP MP, Zahir Adam, was absent.

During the debate over the motion, MPs from the coalition of parties supporting the government of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan spoke in favour of Shahid, with a number of MPs describing the speaker as the “most able and competent” MP to be in the role.

Speaking during the debate, leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ahmed Thasmeen Ali stated that the motion had been forwarded amid baseless accusations and defended his fellow party member, saying that he had been executing the responsibilities of the speaker in accordance with the parliament rules and procedures.

Thasmeen further claimed that the motion was an attempt by MDP to “break” the coalition after the party leadership’s recent “political failures.”

“Such a motion will not impact the ‘unity’ between the parties in the coalition supporting the government of President Waheed. So therefore I must say, yet again this is another wrong step taken by the MDP leadership,” Thasmeen added.

Former president Gayoom’s Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) spokesperson MP Ahmed Mahloof stated that despite his being an outspoken critic of Shahid who made several statements in the media and the parliament floor, he would stand by Shahid’s side today.

“Yesterday, the PPM Parliamentary Group (PG) came to a conclusion that this motion is a ‘trap’ set up by the MDP to ‘finish off’ the people and the ruling coalition,” he said.

“Today at a time where Abdulha Shahid is facing a grave matter at hand, I will stand by him. Abdulla Shahid will get all the votes from PPM. What we ask is that he act justly and equally,” he added.

MDP MP Ali Waheed during the debate alleged that the motion would reveal those MPs who spoke “in two mouths”, referring to the PPM MPs allegations of that Shahid and Thasmeen had cut deals with GMR and the government of former President Mohamed Nasheed to support the privatisation of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).

“Today is not a day  the Speaker should be upset about. Today is a day the Speaker will be victorious. [Because] the people will hear those who ‘smashed’ the DRP speak today,” he said.

“I am happy because today those who accused the Speaker of taking bribes, selling off the airport to GMR and travelling abroad at GMR’s expense, will applaud him [for his integrity],” added Waheed.

Waheed also alleged that the MDP had been “held hostage” while Shahid proceeded with the oath taking ceremony of President Waheed on February 7.

“He let just two or three MPs into the parliament chamber and forgot about the rest of the MPs,” Waheed claimed.

MP Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed during the debate stated that every time there was a conflict of opinion, it should not be taken as far as a no confidence motion.

“Shahid is not someone who had my support to become the speaker. [But] up until today during our journey with the constitution, he has contributed to a lot of things that we achieved. We don’t need to go to a confidence assessment of the speaker who focused on what we had to do up until today,” he said.

Speaking in his concluding statement at the end of the debate, Shahid stated that even if the position of the parliament speaker is seen as a ‘big seat’ and a great privilege, he had faced a very difficult environment in the last three years during his time as the speaker.

“At times I felt very comforted and proud to see the results [produced] by the parliament members. I never responded to the allegations and claims made against me in parliament. I even did not respond to such allegations and claims even outside the parliament, because I wanted to be sure I was doing my job,” he said.

He claimed that due such the allegations he had to work under circumstances that caused hurt to himself, his family and the party which he belonged to.

“But one person is elected out of 77 members to make some sacrifices. I made those sacrifices during the last three years. I have learned that as someone who makes vital decisions, I can’t please everyone,” he said.

He further stated that there were a lot of members who had opposing views to him, and that there were also members who later came to him and admitted that what they had previously believed was not right as well.

He said that the decision that the members were to make today was a historic one and that it was the first occasion in the parliamentary history of the country where the parliament was to take a no- confidence motion against a speaker.

He advised the members to not to make the issue a political one but rather a decision that they would make for the sake of the best interest of the people. He asked the MPs to think about the people who elected the members before pressing the voting button.

“Whatever way the decision [of the vote] goes, I wish all you members well. Whatever way the decision comes out, I will continue repaying the debt I owe to the constituents of Keyodhoo Constituency who elected me,” he said.

Shahid concluded his speech stating that he did not hold any hard feelings towards any member, and thanked the members who had said “beautiful things” about him.

Many MPs cheered as the Deputy Speaker announced that the motion had failed to get the required number of votes to oust Shahid.

MDP Response

Speaking to Minivan News after the vote, MDP Spokesperson MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor said the MDP  parliamentary group had made a decision to take the no confidence motion against the speaker even before the transfer of power on February 7, but had waited for the right moment.

Ghafoor said that one reason for the motion was to assess the current political situation following the emergence of the PPM.

“Our argument is that a political party by the name of PPM has been formed. We wanted to assess the strength of the opposition coalition,” he said.

Ghafoor admitted that for the time being, the coalition of the political parties supporting the government seemed to be united as was seen from the vote, but questioned how long  they would work together.

He said it is inevitable that the coalition would break apart in the near future because of leadership tensions, raising doubts as to whether political figures within the coalition could work together for a longer period.

Asked whether the fact that MDP got 25 votes when the party had 30 MPs meant that there were internal conflicts within the party, Ghafoor said that it did not represent an internal conflict but just “a difference of opinion”.

“Our experience is that we lost four votes today. Two of our MPs abstained from the vote while MP Ahmed Rasheed and MP Hassan Adil voted with the opposition. MP Zahir Adam was absent today,” he said.

Ghafoor further stated that the parliament was a place of discussion and votes but on February 7, the transfer of power did not take place like that. He also said that the vote reflected that the majority of the parliament did not object to the coup.

“While the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) has raised doubts over the transfer of power on February 7, today we saw  that despite those doubts, the majority of the parliament voted in favour of a coup,” he said.

Ghafoor said that despite the no-confidence vote not succeeding, the MDP did not view it as a defeat but rather an indication of how the political culture in the country had progressed.

After deciding in April to forward the no-confidence motion, the MDP stated that motion against Shahid concerned allegations that he had been making decisions relating to significant parliamentary issues without discussing them with various political parties.

The party claimed that Shahid had been acting outside of his mandate by deciding to suspend certain parliament regulations, whilst opting to follow others that were to his personal benefit.


11 thoughts on “Speaker of parliament survives MDP-initiated no-confidence motion 45:25”

  1. MDP's no-confidence motion ended up in humiliating defeat for MDP with 45 members expressing confidence in the Speaker and only 25 MPs voting for the motion . 2 MPs abstained. So it was a crushing defeat for Ex Prez Nasheed's once strong MDP.

    The results showed an increased support for the Speaker who actually was elected with 43 MPs support.

    Is this mere "survival" as headlined?

  2. The vote means PPM has limited power. Today they are forced to support Abdulla Shahid despite accusation of GMR Corruption.

    If Shahid intact has a secret deal with MDP, today MDP has consolidated the power of their man - ie, Shahid.

    MDP has lost in the vote but won in influence. Well done MDP.

  3. @interpretation:

    Close but not exactly.

    What this means is that pragmatism won over confrontational politics.

    Shahid has proven time and time again that he is ready to work across the bipartisan divide. Entrenching his position within the Parliament ensures that the MDP will barely survive in a climate where they are outnumbered and heavily opposed.

    However it is not a victory for the MDP. It is a victory for the Maldivian nation and for peace in the country that someone like Shahid remains in his position.

  4. @Ilyas Ahmed

    This is yet another stunt of ex Pre Nasheed. He is still able to do that because people like you can only read the surface meaning of things. He exists because of fools like you.

  5. @tsk tsk

    'What this means is that pragmatism won over confrontational politics'

    What it means is that PPM is now forced into a corner within the coalition. And you are a PPM sympathizer.

  6. MDP's success today was updating the record...people like Mhloof and Nihan should rethink their bashing the DRP Speaker after what their party got on the record today.....

  7. What a performance by the MDP. Well done.

    What MDP did effectively was expose those who were behind the coup.

    We all know that if Abdulla Shahid didn't cooperate with Dr Waheed we will have fresh elections which is how it should have been done.

    The MDP was right to submit the motion. Who was Abdulla Shahid representing yesterday? Gayoom or the people who elected him to the Majlis?

    Hats off to Anni. You did it again!


  8. I dont think this shows that PPM is pushed to a corner.

    Like tsk tsk says, PPM was being pragmatic. They strengthened their position with this yet again. PPM has no integrity! They lie, change positions, curb freedoms, do pretty much what ever it takes to win. To them the end goal is to win elections and make money, not to serve the people.

    They won yesterday, and am afraid might win again, but the lies wont stay forever, more people will continue to realize that they deserve better.

    As younger generations turn 18 and Get their right to vote, the numbers for freedom will keep growing.

  9. @ interpretation on Tue, 5th Jun 2012 6:13 PM 
    @ Mohamed

    Yeah, yeah, everything that Anni does is so well planned and executed that other mortals are unable to comprehend the complexity of the strategy and the wisdom of his decisions.

    These include, closing of spas, arrest of MPs by military means, arrest of Criminal Court Judge by ordering the military to do so, GMR deal (one sided against country), rejecting validity of whole judiciary, attempt to reappoint Supreme Court & HIH Court judges, outright disregard for the Law & Constitution when he felt like it (sometimes he needed to steer off chart), giving away 100s of resort islands for MDP inner core group on dubious schemes, corrupt deal to reclaim Thilafushi awarded to senior MDP figure Reeko Moosa Manik at a higher cost, giving away the contract to supply medicines & medical equipment to a paper company set up by MDP under the name of Seinior MDP activist "Pre-paid" Shiuna when this company had no money nor previous experience in such business as was required in the "tender" carried out to take away this business from STO, attempts to legalise liquor in inhabitted islands (even to the extent of declaring parts of inhabitted islands as uninhabiited new islands), "phylosophical" projects to turn Maldives carbon netural and produce clean energy using wind, solar and wave energy which we are now using as an example to the whole world etc. etc.

    More significantly, the physicial attacks and stonings perpetrated by MDP activists against demonstrators on direct orders of Anni in the days before Feb 7th to find a reason to declare Martial Law.

    As we all know all this culminated in the Police & MNDF refusing to obey Nasheed's orders which forced him to resign and subsequently to claim 24 hours later that he was forced to resign under "duress".

    The most impressive move was to request India to invade Maldives to save Nasheed's govt after he resigned even when the Indian forces estimated minimum 30 deaths of MNDF/Police. This bravery of Nasheed was boasted by none other than his National Secuirty Advisor Ameen Faisal bragging to Indian Newspapers. What national heroes!

    Submitting a no-confidence motion against the Speaker just to get it crushed was also a Pre-planned brilliant move by Nasheed. After all it recycles the same story line repeated over and over by MDP.

    I am totallimmune blown by the genius of it all.! This whole saga was an Einstein standard master stroke by Nasheed all Pre- planned in some fantastic plan to outsmart his political rivals.

    Who can match such brilliance & wizardry? I mean really seriously?

  10. Col.Nasheed what are you talking about? Fact is that all you MPs have done nothing but political bickering and it is because of the lack of effectiveness and efficiency in passing the needed legislation that our country is in the dire state it is in today. And whether or not Shahid survived the vote, fact remains that he has not been able to control the MPs behaviour and to direct them to do the job that they are supposed to do! We are not paying the MPs to perform like clowns and then pat each other's back and go home till the next session! The Parliament hasn't been able to do anything to tackle the problems from Feb 7 and they haven't been able to do anything to address the constant police brutality and the escalating crime rates in this country. None of the MPs deserve to be holding such esteemed positions and calling themselves MPs! They can't make the Government accountable and they can't make the Courts accountable and they can't make the so called independent institutions accountable! Step down and go home all of you!

  11. Hehe. MDP got defeated, truly and utterly in this vote that they initiated. Even members of their party didn't stand with them in this vote. This vote has shown MDP its true size.


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