Minister of State for Finance Abbas Adil Riza has accused Parliamentary Speaker Abdulla Shahid of “challenging” the Supreme Court after he tabled a no-confidence motion despite an injunction from the court.
Riza’s comments follow parliament’s announcement last week that a no-confidence motion against Defence Minster Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim has been tabled despite a Supreme Court injunction ordering parliament to halt all pending no-confidence votes.
Speaking at the artificial beach on Monday (December 17) Riza, who is also a National Movement Steering Committee member, said that Shahid’s decision to “challenge” the Supreme Court was a “cowardly act”.
“Unless Shahid immediately ceases his efforts to violate the constitution while holding the post of Speaker of Parliament, the National Movement will ensure that this comes to a stop,” local media reported Riza as saying.
Furthermore, Riza warned that should the parliament try to violate the constitution, the National Movement will “break up” the parliament.
Last week, the People’s Majlis secretariat revealed that Defence Minister Nazim has been given the required 14-day notice and his ministry also duly informed by Speaker Abdulla Shahid.
Repsonding to Riza’s comments, Majlis Deputy Speaker and fellow PA MP Ahmed Nazim said that the Parliament has not challenged the Supreme Court’s injunction, noting that it has given the full 14 days notice to the court as per stated by the law.
“We believe there is still time for Supreme Court to lift the temporary injunction, and I believe they will not see this as the parliament challenging the court.
“After 14 days, the motion will be put up on the agenda for discussion by party leaders. If the injunction remains then there is a possibility for party leaders to challenge the court,” Nazim told Minivan News.
Article 101(a) of the constitution states, “At least fourteen days notice of the debate in the People’s Majlis concerning a motion under article (a) shall be given to the concerned member of the cabinet, and he shall have the right to defend himself in the sittings of the People’s Majlis, both orally and in writing.”
When asked if there was concern from parliament over Riza’s comments, Nazim revealed that the institution as a whole did not feel threatened, however there had been “concern” expressed by individual parliamentary members.
“The institution is protected by the constitution and we have protection from the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), however at least one individual has told us he feels threatened and believes that security needs to be increased.
Abbas Adil Riza was not responding to calls at time of press.
On December 3, parliament voted 41-34 to approve amendments to the parliamentary rules of procedure to conduct no-confidence votes to impeach the President and remove cabinet members through secret ballot.
MPs of the government-aligned Jumhooree Party (JP) and Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) joined the formerly ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to vote the amendment through.
The no-confidence motion against Defence Minister Nazim was submitted by the MDP earlier this month on the grounds that he misused his authority as acting Transport Minister by using the military to influence termination of commercial contracts.
No-confidence motion against Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed
Meanwhile, a no-confidence motion has again been submitted against Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel today (November 17).
The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) submitted the same motion to parliament on a previous occasion, but withdrew it at the last minute after the voting was scheduled for parliament.
An MP told local media that this latest motion was submitted with 17 signatures including the signatures of MDP MPs, however this has yet to be officially confirmed.