Amend constitution and re-elect parliament, and I may hold elections: President Nasheed

President Mohamed Nasheed has hinted that he is prepared to hold mid-term elections – a promise he made prior to being elected – if the opposition agreed to amend the constitution and re-elect the parliament.

”Elections have been very friendly to me in my life,” Nasheed said, speaking at an MDP rally last night. ”I am ready to face any elections should they be needed.”

However, Nasheed demanded that the opposition agree to amend the constitution and re-elect parliament.

”Although the tax bill to increase the government’s revenue has not been passed, [we] will fulfill the pledges,” said Nasheed, noting that six projects were scheduled to commence in Male’.

Nasheed has recently claimed that laws passed by the parliament were making it difficult for a presidential system to function effectively.

“In my view, the essence of this is connected to the form of the constitution,” he said, adding that the “teething issues” related to implementing the constitution must be resolved.

“One way is for all political parties to agree to amend the constitution to change to a parliamentary system,” he suggested, adding that he was ready to face any election in this event.

As the existing constitution allows parliament to block executive functions, said Nasheed, the government could neither ensure economic development nor provide basic services effectively.

“If opposition political parties do not believe [changing to a parliamentary system] is best, the second way is for us to perfect the presidential system,” he said.

“Either perfecting the presidential system, or changing to a parliamentary system [is the choice],” he said.

Opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Abdulla Mausoom said that the president had promised the people he would hold mid-term elections, “and he has no other choice.”

”That was an unconditional statement he made before the last [presidential] elections,” said Mausoom. ”He has to do it without applying any conditions.”

Mausoom claimed that today, people of the Maldives did not have trust in the president.

”I will say we should wait and see. He is repeating an earlier statement he made, it means there is a possibility that he might do it,” Mausoom added.

The government and the opposition parties are currently holding closed-door discussions, ostentatiously to try and resolve the current political deadlock.


President submits decentralisation bill

President Mohamed Nasheed has submitted the revised Decentralisation Bill to the People’s Majlis.

The bill states that each of the administrative divisions stated in Schedule 2 of the Constitution—except Malé—will be administered by an atoll council elected in accordance with the Constitution.

It also provides representation to both men and women in the elected island and city councils.

The bill gives the president the authority to establish province offices to provide the services of ministries and coordinate government projects in different regions.

The president also proposed the 2nd amendment bill to Act 2/99 (Tourism Act), to make the industry more sustainable and increase the government’s revenue from tourism.