A compromise agreement between parliamentary group leaders to rework the composition of standing committees was approved with 60 votes at today’s sitting of the People’s Majlis.
Two consecutive sittings were cancelled last week to allow parliamentary group leaders to agree on the reconstitution, which was triggered by opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Hassan Adil joining the government-aligned Jumhooree Party (JP).
Section 101(b) of the parliamentary rules of procedure stipulates proportional representation in the committees, stating that the number of MPs each party has should be taken as the basis for determining the composition of the 11-member standing committees.
The beginning of today’s sitting was meanwhile delayed to 1:00pm as talks continued between parliamentary group leaders to finalise the agreement. The sitting concluded immediately after the vote was taken, which saw 60 votes in favour and one against.
Following days of negotiations and disagreement over control of powerful oversight committees, a deal was struck on Thursday between the government-aligned People’s Alliance (PA) and the formerly ruling MDP.
The PA – led by Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim – gave up its seat on the Government Oversight Committee to the former ruling party in exchange for one of the MDP’s four seats in the Finance Committee. The PA however gave their Finance Committee seat to the JP.
The agreement sees MDP gain control of the Government Oversight Committee with six seats out of eleven.
Meanwhile, the former main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) has two seats in each of the 13 committees, while the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has three seats in seven committees and two seats in six committees.
Following the approval of the reworked composition by the full Majlis today, Speaker Abdulla Shahid expressed gratitude to Deputy Speaker Nazim and parliamentary group leaders for their cooperation in reaching the agreement despite “serious disagreement”. He went on to urge MPs to continue in the “spirit of compromise.”
The agreement reached today, said Shahid, was the result of lengthy discussions last night among the speaker, deputy speaker, Majority Leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and DRP Leader Ahmed Thasmeen Ali.