Ousted Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said it will boycott Wednesday’s Majlis sitting scheduled to approve President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s vice-president nominee and 14 member cabinet.
The MDP alleges President Waheed came to power through a coup d’état, and has called for fresh elections and an independent investigation into the transfer of power on February 7.
“We continue to believe the transfer of power occurred through a coup d’état. We do not believe any cabinet Dr Waheed appoints to be lawful. Therefore we believe the sitting scheduled to approve such a cabinet is also an unlawful sitting,” MDP parliamentary group (PG) leader Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Mohamed Solih told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.
The MDP had sent a letter requesting cabinet approval be postponed to a later date, but did not receive a reply, Ibu said.
MDP deputy PG leader Ali Waheed said the decision to boycott Wednesday’s sitting was “not defeat,” but a “courageous decision.”
He also said the Speaker could not schedule approval for the cabinet until an independent investigation into the transfer of power is complete.
President Waheed has set up a three member Committee of National Inquiry (CNI), but the commission has come under fire from international bodies such as the Commonwealth, the MDP and local civil society group for lack of independence.
MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik said the establishment of the CNI was proof that President Waheed himself questioned the legitimacy of his administration. Further, even if the cabinet nominees were approved, Waheed’s administration could not submit bills as Waheed’s Gaumee Ithihad (GI) does not have representation in the Majlis.
Article 71 of the parliamentary rules of procedure states the government can only submit bills, including tax bills, to the parliament through the party it represents.
The MDP also sought to obstruct Waheed from addressing parliament on March 1 and March 19. Waheed only managed to deliver a shortened version of the presidential address amidst loud heckling by MDP MPs in the Majlis chamber while MDP supporters and police clashed violently outside. During the speech an MP held up a placard declaring Waheed a ‘coup boss’.
Meanwhile, the MDP has also tabled a no-confidence motion against speaker Abdulla Shahid claiming the speaker follows the house rules at his discretion and does not seek advice from political parties when making major decisions.
In response, Shahid has said: “I was elected as Speaker through a parliamentary majority. Since then, I have upheld and in the future will continue to uphold the Constitution and laws of the Maldives and the Parliament’s regulations.”
The MDP commands 32 of the 77 seats in parliament.