The People’s Majlis has endorsed all 15 of President Abdulla Yameen’s cabinet ministers.
Ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), coalition partners Jumhooree Party (JP) and Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) as well as six members of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) voted to approve ministerial nominees.
The ministers were endorsed despite the Majlis’ Executive Oversight Committee’s decision to reject eight out of the 15 cabinet ministers on Saturday. The opposition majority committee said the eight were “ministers of the coup government” established after the controversial transfer of power in February 2012.
The MDP enforced a three line whip in rejecting the eight ministers, but had a free whip on voting for the remaining seven.
The six MDP parliamentarians who breached the three line whip are Abdulla Jabir, Zahir Adam, Ahmed Rasheed, Mohamed Rasheed, Abdulla Abdul Raheem and Ahmed Easa.
Two MDP parliamentarians – Ali Waheed and Alhan Fahmy – voted against all fifteen ministers.
During Monday’s vote, 73 out of 77 parliamentarians were in attendance.
Among the 15 cabinet members, Attorney General Mohamed Anil, Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed and Minister of Environment and Energy Thoriq Ibrahim received the highest number of votes in endorsement, with each minister receiving 64 votes.
Minister of Education Aishath Shiham and Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Mohamed Shainee received 63 votes each.
Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Maleeh Jamal received 58 votes, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dunya Maumoon received 55 votes.
Minister of Tourism Ahmed Adeeb received 45 votes, with Minister of Defence and National Security Mohamed Nazim, Minister of Transport and Communication Ameen Ibrahim and Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Mohamed Muizzu each receiving 44 votes.
Minister of Finance and Treasury Abdulla Jihad, Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed and Minister of Health and Gender Aishath Shiham received 43 votes each.
Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer got endorsed with the least number of votes, receiving only 41 in favour from a total of 73.
The Speaker allowed one member from each party to speak on the parliament floor about the report prepared by the Executive Oversight Committee.
Progressive Party of Maldives MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla called on the parliament to endorse all members, specifically calling on opposition members to follow “the courageous example set by [MDP] Presidential Candidate Nasheed. He said that Yameen’s cabinet is compiled of the most capable selection of ministers that the country has seen to date.”
Jumhooree Party (JP) MP Ilham Ahmed stated that the constitution demands that all ministers be endorsed. “There will be no reasons for regret by endorsing this cabinet. In any case, if there arises a need, the parliament has a mechanism through which we can hold ministers accountable. Jumhooree Party will not shy away from taking action against any cabinet member, whichever party he may come from, should he do something that may cause a loss to citizens,” he stated.
Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) MP Ahmed Amir stated that “it is unacceptable to not be able to endorse ministers without appeasing a particular individual”, and alleged that the Government Oversight Committee had not acted justly in reviewing the cabinet appointees.
Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP) member Riyaz Rasheed added that there is no appointee against whom questions of capability can be raised. He added that the parliament should not set any conditions when voting to endorse ministers.
Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed said that the party will endorse members as appointing ministers is the mandate of the President. He added that the party would employ a moderate approach in holding the government accountable.
Independent MP Ibrahim Muhtholib stated that all 15 ministers met the qualifications required in a cabinet appointee. He alleged that the committee had failed to present sufficient reasoning for their refusal to endorse over half of the cabinet.
Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik stated that the party’s members would vote to endorse those they saw fit, and not the rest.
“There needs to be an opposition that holds the government accountable, and today that role is ours. We are a responsible party and we will do what it takes to hold the government accountable, even if it means bringing citizens out on to the streets [to hold demonstrations],” he stated.
“MDP stands strictly against coup d’etats. And even if a baaghee [traitor] changes their clothes and comes infront of us, we can see that they still have the characteristics of a baaghee.”
The Executive Oversight Committee – compiled of a majority of 6 MDP members from a total of 10 – previously decided to reject endorsement of eight ministers.
The committee rejected endorsement of Nazim, Adheeb, Shaheem, Shakeela, Ameen, Jihad and Muizzu on the grounds that they were “coup ministers” as they had served in the previous Waheed administration.
The committee also rejected Home Minister Umar Naseer saying that various speeches given by him at political rallies made it “evident that he will not be loyal to Yameen”.