Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ahmed Nazim told local media on Sunday that although the amendment to allow secret ballots when taking no confidence votes had been passed in the General Affairs Committee, Speaker Abdulla Shahid had asked to delay placing the vote on the agenda.
However, Shahid has denied having asked for the delay, stating that Nazim had not brought up the matter for discussion. He stated that it was normal to table larger issues for voting after giving ample time to MPs to prepare, and that the same procedure would be followed in this issue.
“As a rule, I have always tabled larger issues in parliament in such a way which gives ample time to members. Otherwise, if such a huge issue is put on agenda suddenly, it is the Parliament Speaker who will get blamed,” Shahid was quoted as saying, adding, “Had the deputy speaker discussed the matter with me, the answer would still be that the members must be given enough time.”
Shahid confirmed that the report of the General Affairs Committee would be sent to the MPs once work resumes on Monday, stating that the voting would then be duly put on agenda.
To be deemed official, amendments to parliament’s regulations and procedures have to be approved through a vote at the parliament floor even though they are passed at committee stage.
No confidence vote on Home Minister
Meanwhile, a no confidence vote against the Minister of Home Affairs Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has been scheduled for next Tuesday.
“It was my understanding that we needed to come to a decision on the matter of secret ballots before the no confidence vote [against Jameel] is taken. But the Speaker who is in Islamabad asked for the vote to be delayed. Thus no decision will be made on the secret ballots before the no confidence vote,” Nazim said.
Shahid, however, said that he sees no reason why the matter of allowing secret ballots needed to be settled before the taking of the no confidence vote against Jameel, stating he saw no relation between the two issues.
“The matter of allowing secret ballots was raised in majlis after I had already scheduled the no confidence vote on Jameel. Now, the issue which was first placed on agenda must be carried forward, shouldn’t it?”
The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has also proposed a no confidence vote against President Mohamed Waheed Hassan.
Minivan News tried contacting Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim but he was not responding to calls at the time of press.