Parliament immobilised for third week running over cabinet endorsement issue

The parliament sitting today was again cancelled this morning, with the political deadlock over the cabinet endorsement issuing immobilising the legislative branch of government for the third week runnig.

Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid canceled the sitting and suggested the political parties come to an understanding over the cabinet endorsement issue, the same request he made last week.

The previous sitting was also canceled after the opposition and ruling party MPs clashed over the issue of cabinet endorsement, and MPs refused to debate other bills.

The opposition and the ruling party MPs have been continuously blaming each other for parliament’s repeated cancellation.

Opposition MPs claim that the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs were declining to follow the parliament’s rules of procedure and alleged they were trying to influence parliamentary proceedings.

Opposition MPs have demanded individual approval of each member of the cabinet, and announced that they intend to disapprove six current cabinet ministers.

However, MDP MPs believe that the parliament should amend the rules of procedure and shall give consent to the cabinet as a whole rather than voting individually, as the no-confidence motion already exists.

President Mohamed Nasheed has said in his weekly radio address that although the parliament voted to dismiss any member of the cabinet, they will still remain in office, despite parliament’s disapproval.

Opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ahmed Nihan once again said that MDP MPs were deliberately forcing the speaker to cancel the parliament by constantly creating point of orders, to try and dismiss the cabinet endorsement issue from parliament’s agenda.

”After what the president said during his radio address, we were comforted at the thought that MDP MPs would remain silent as they were told and would let the cabinet endorsement issue continue,” said Nihan. ”We condemn this act of the ruling party, it is regrettable that the parliament has malfunctioned for nearly three weeks now.”

Nihan said there was a lot of other work that the parliament needs to complete.

”There will be the budget that has to be passed by the end of November, work on the Tax Bill is also at a halt, and the committee meetings as well,” he said.

He called on all the political parties to discuss the issue and to arrive to a common understanding so that the parliament could reinstate its work.

President Nasheed said during his weekly radio address that disapproval by parliament would mean ministers would be dismissed, and suggested MDP MPs to remain silent during the vote so parliament’s agenda could proceed.

Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair told Minivan News that it was unfair to say that only MDP MPs were responsible for the parliamentary deadlock.

”The real issue is due to a misconception in the meaning of the constitution, for there are MPs in the parliament who still have an ancient way of translating the constitution,” said Zuhair. ”It is regrettable that the parliament have arrived to a halt .”

Zuhair said the opposition was now effectively obstructing the president from establishing his government.

”Some of them cannot accept defeat and are attempting to obstruct the president from establishing a government,” he said. ”

Speaker Shahid said that the next sitting will be held tomorrow.