JSC rejects no-confidence motion against Chair Adam Mohamed

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has decided to reject a proposed no-confidence motion against its Chair, Supreme Court Justice Adam Mohamed, filed by commission member Shuaib Abdul Rahman.

Rahman – the public’s nominee to the commission – told Minivan News last week that he had attempted to file the no-confidence motion against Adam Mohamed contending that he was responsible for the judicial watchdog‘s “state of limbo”.

Rahman further accused Mohamed of failing to back the JSC’s investigation of Supreme Court Justice Ali Hameed’s sex-tape scandal, and abusing power to release press statements on behalf of the commission.

Rahman alleged Adam Mohamed had deliberately refused to table the no-confidence motion against him during last week’s commission meeting.

“When I first filed the motion, the Secretary General of the Commission said he could only table the motion with a proper reason. Then I told him all the reasons as why the motion should be filed. But still Adam Mohamed refused to table the motion. Now he has unofficially said that he would table the motion on Monday,” Rahman said.

In a letter sent to Rahman by the JSC, signed by the Secretary General of the Commission, the JSC claimed that the Judicial Service Commission Act – JSC’s parent legislation – did not allow the filing of no-confidence motions against its Chair and Vice Chair.

Therefore, the proposition of a no-confidence motion is not allowed as per section 10 of the Judicial Service Commission Act, the letter claimed.

Following the dismissal of his motion, Rahman told local media today (August 26) that would file the matter with both the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) and parliament’s Independent Institutions Oversight Committee.

Speaking to local media outlet CNM, Rahman claimed that a decision by the commission to reject his motion should only be decided by the majority of the commission members, and that Adam Mohamed did not have the discretionary power to dismiss the motion.

He also said that the section 17 of the same act required all members to refrain from conflict of interest, contending that Adam Mohamed could not dismiss the motion while it involved his own interests.

Therefore, Rahman contested that Adam Mohamed had misused his powers as the Chair of JSC which amounted to corrupt practice, falling within the ambit of the ACC.

“[Adam Mohamed] has acted like this every time. Cases that need to be given priority, including the case of recent statement issued by Supreme Court [regarding the appointment of the CSC member], have been withheld because he has an interest in it. That is something that the JSC should prioritise,” he told CNM.

The JSC has meanwhile refused to comment on the matter.


Parliament postpones no-confidence votes against Home, Defence Minister over issue of secret ballot

Parliament called off scheduled no-confidence votes set to be taken today (April 8 ) against Home Minister Mohamed Jameel and Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim, after Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MPs objected to the vote not being made in secret despite a parliamentary decision otherwise.

The Supreme Court in March struck down the amendment to parliament’s standing orders that allowed no-confidence votes to be made through secret ballot, declaring the amendment unconstitutional. The majority opinion of the Supreme Court contended that the move contravened article 85 of the constitution as well as parliamentary principles and the norms of free and democratic societies.

During today’s parliament session, Deputy Parliamentary Group Leader of MDP, MP Ali Waheed, contended that the Supreme Court’s ruling itself had been unconstitutional as it had exceeded its own mandate as under the constitution parliament is deemed a separate power of the state – which the Supreme Court does not have the jurisdiction to meddle with.

Waheed also warned that the MDP would not allow the speaker to go forward with the vote without making it a secret ballot.

Several other opposition MPs argued that government-aligned Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) was prepared to vote with the opposition should the ballot be a secret ballot, giving the vote the 39 MP majority needed for it to pass.

However, Deputy Parliamentary Group Leader of DRP MP Abdulla Mausoom denied the claim stating that the party’s stand was to abstain from the vote.

Mausoom told local media outlet Sun Online that the party had come to the decision in an attempt to prioritise national interest ahead of party politics and to prevent chaos and confusion among the public.

During the debate on the vote, members of the government-aligned Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) spoke in favour of both Jameel and Nazim claiming that the vote was a tactic employed by the opposition to intimidate and harass the ministers.

Speaking during the debate, former Interim Deputy Leader of PPM, MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla said that Jameel a remarkable background and was one of the most educated and able ministers in the current government.

He also said that PPM was defending the Minister not because the party felt that the government of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan was doing any good, but because PPM MPs loved the nation and its well being.

Raheem Abdulla also applauded the minister for his “remarkable reforms” brought to the police institution, claiming that the police force “was a mess” during former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration.

Speaking in the debate, MP Ali Waheed questioned the Home Minister as to why the police were excessively spending public funds on fireworks and celebrations when the country’s largest hospital IGMH did not even have enough doctors.

Meanwhile Independent MP Alhan Fahmy stated that although he did not question Jameel’s academic qualifications, he argued that the minister had failed in executing his duties and accused him of being negligent in looking into police misconduct.

Responding to the allegations levied against him, Jameel told parliament that the no-confidence motion filed against him by the MDP MPs lacked any basis.

Jameel, former Justice Minister during President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s administration, claimed that allegations against him were “misleading and politicised” and that the motion was put forth to achieve “political leverage”.

“When I took over as the Minister, the whole police institution was in a mess. I cannot fix everything in a year. Under my leadership, the role of the police has been expanded throughout the country. Demonstrations can now be held anywhere in the country peacefully,” he said.

Jameel also contended that police are now more professional and do not discriminate when executing their duties and responsibilities.

Order in the chamber was lost halfway through the morning session after Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim entered the parliament floor wearing his military colours.

Opposition MDP MP Mohamed ‘Kubey’ Rasheed took a point of order contending the parliamentary regulation did not allow Defense Minister – who was accompanied by his lawyer and the Deputy Attorney General – to enter the parliament floor with military colours.

Several other MPs also joined Rasheed in protest and the session had to be suspended for few hours.

Before the break, MPs decided to hold the debate on Defence Minister’s impeachment behind closed doors.

The parliament session reconvened at 1:00pm and when Speaker Abdulla Shahid called for the vote, MDP MPs began protesting, claiming that the vote should be a secret ballot.

After several failed attempts by the Speaker to calm the MPs, the session was cancelled. Speaker Shahid also announced that the matter raised by MDP MPs regarding Supreme Court’s decision had been sent to parliament’s General Affairs Committee.

Speaker Shahid stated that the committee with review the decision and will begin its work on Tuesday.

In October last year, the MDP submitted its first motion against Home Minister Jameel over concerns from the party of what it called an “unprecedented” increase in murders and assault in the Maldives since the transfer of power.

Despite the MDP withdrawing the no-confidence motion against the home minister a month later in November for an unexplained reason, a second no-confidence vote was submitted by the party in December.

A statement issued by the MDP accused Jameel of failing to control civil peace and order in the country, which it said had led to the loss of eight lives.

The MDP further referred to an incident in which a man on a motorcycle was killed after a police officer struck a second motorcyclist with his baton, causing him to collide with the first.

The MDP alleged that Home Minister Jameel had tried to cover up police involvement in the death.

A no-confidence vote was also due to be taken against Jumhoree Party MP and resort tycoon Gasim Ibrahim’s position on the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), which has come under fire internationally amid questions over its conduct and impartiality.


Parliament to hold no-confidence vote against Home Minister Jameel, Defence Minister Nazim, JSC member Gasim Ibrahim

Parliament has scheduled a series of no-confidence votes for tomorrow concerning Home Minister Mohamed Jameel, Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and JSC member Gasim Ibrahim.

Parliament rules state that a minimum of 39 votes are required to successfully pass a no-confidence vote against a government minister. The opposition MDP currently has 29 MPs, short 10 votes of the required majority.

While the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) has said it will back the trio, the DRP, which has 15 MPs, has said the party will “decide tomorrow”.

Following the scheduling of the vote, President Mohamed Waheed Hassan told local media that he was confident that the government-aligned parties would “defend” his ministers from impeachment.


Parliament tables no-confidence motion against Defence Minister in defiance of Supreme Court injunction

Parliament announced today that a no-confidence motion filed against Defence Minister Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim has been tabled despite a Supreme Court injunction ordering parliament to halt pending no-confidence votes.

The People’s Majlis secretariat revealed that Defence Minister Nazim has been given the required 14-day notice and his ministry also duly informed by Speaker Abdulla Shahid.

Article 101(a) of the constitution states, “At least fourteen days notice of the debate in the People’s Majlis concerning a motion under article (a) shall be given to the concerned member of the cabinet, and he shall have the right to defend himself in the sittings of the People’s Majlis, both orally and in writing.”

The move comes in apparent defiance of an injunction or stay order issued by the Supreme Court to halt conducting no-confidence votes through secret ballot, pending a ruling by the apex court on the constitutionality of the secret vote.

Speaker Abdulla Shahid and Parliament’s Counsellor General Fathimath Filza were not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.

The injunction (Dhivehi) was issued in a case filed by Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) council member and lawyer of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim ‘Wadde’.

Waheed contended that secret votes were unlawful as article 85 of the constitution states that the People’s Majlis or any of its committees “may decide to exclude the public and the press from all or any part of the proceedings if there is a compelling need to do so in the interests of public order or national security.”

Waheed requested the Supreme Court specify the constitutional measure to determine a two-third majority of parliament – required to impeach the president – and to declare that the Majlis decision to approve a secret ballot was unconstitutional.

On December 3, parliament voted 41-34 to approve amendments to the parliamentary rules of procedure to conduct no-confidence votes to impeach the President and remove cabinet members through secret ballot.

MPs of the government-aligned Jumhooree Party (JP) and Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) joined the formerly ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to vote the amendment through.

The no-confidence motion against Defence Minister Nazim was submitted by the MDP earlier this month on the grounds that he misused his authority as acting Transport Minister by using the military to influence termination of commercial contracts.

The MDP has also submitted a no-confidence motion to impeach President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik.

The no-confidence motion against Nazim was filed with the signatures of 17 MPs, according to the Majlis secretariat.

Under article 101(a), “A motion expressing want of confidence in a member of the Cabinet may be moved in the People’s Majlis, under the hand of at least ten members, specifying the reasons.”

“Challenging separation of powers”

In a separate ruling, the Supreme Court also issued an injunction ordering parliament not to appoint a new member to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) pending a ruling on the legality of parliament’s dismissal of the CSC’s former chair, Mohamed Fahmy Hassan.

Fahmy had filed a case contesting the legality of his removal from the independent institution on November 20 on the grounds that he had allegedly sexual harassed a female employee.

“What is at stake is the supremacy of the parliament as the representative of the people. By its actions, the Supreme Court is challenging the separation of powers that underpins the constitutional basis of governance,” MDP MP Eva Abdulla told Minivan News yesterday.

In its stay orders, the Supreme Court referred to article 144(b) of the constitution, which states: “When deciding a constitutional matter within its jurisdiction, a court may in connection with a declaration pursuant to the article make any order that is just and equitable, including an […] suspending the declaration of invalidity (of a statute, regulation or action due to inconsistency with the Constitution) for any period and on any conditions, to allow the competent authority to correct the defect.”

Kutti NasheedMeanwhile, Independent MP for Kulhudhufushi South, Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed, contended in his blog yesterday (December 12) that the Supreme Court did not have the legal or constitutional authority to issue the injunctive orders against parliament.

Moreover, the Supreme Court “does not have the power to even accept those cases,” he wrote.

Article 88(b) of the constitution states: “Unless otherwise specified in this constitution, the validity of any proceedings in the People’s Majlis shall not be questioned in any court of law.”

Nasheed argued that decisions made by parliament could not be challenged in court except in instances clearly specified in the constitution.

The purpose of article 88 was to prevent parliament’s decisions being challenged or overturned, Nasheed said, as in the absence of such a clause the Supreme Court would become a “People’s Appeal Majlis” with supremacy over the house of elected representatives.

“If every decision of the People’s Majlis is appealed at the Supreme Court in the manner that any judgement by the High Court can be appealed at the Supreme Court, then there is no difference between the People’s Majlis and the High Court,” Nasheed wrote.

This was against the separation of powers envisioned in the constitution, Nasheed said, which vested legislative powers in parliament and clearly specified instances where its decisions could be challenged at court.


Supreme Court issues injunction to withhold no confidence vote on president

The Supreme Court has issued an injunction ordering parliament to withhold the impending no-confidence motions against both Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and President Mohamed Waheed Hassan.

The ruling was made after a case concerning the legality of the no confidence motions had been filed by Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) council member and lawyer Mohamed ‘Wadde’ Waheed Ibrahim.

The Supreme Court in its injunction today ordered parliament to withhold the no-confidence motion until it could decide on the legality of the matter after looking into the “necessary constitutional principles that had to be followed”.

Earlier this month, Ibrahim filed the case in the Supreme Court contending that the parliament’s decision to make impeachment votes a secret ballot was unlawful.

Speaking to local media after filling the case, Ibrahim said that Article 85 of the constitution clearly articulates that a session of parliament can only be held in ‘closed doors’ only if the issue debated in parliament concerns the national security of the state and if not the sessions should be held open to public.

He said therefore parliament does not have the authority to come to a decision outside its jurisdiction laid down in the constitution and sought the Supreme Court to invalidate the decision.

No-confidence motion

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) had proposed a no-confidence motion against President Mohamed Waheed Hassan in October claiming that the police and the military had “brutalised” its supporters on February 8 under direct orders from the president himself.

The MDP also alleged that President Waheed had destroyed the sensitive economy of the nation and adversely impacting investor confidence in the Maldives.

Other reasons, the MDP alleged, included the failure of President Waheed’s administration to curb gang violence in the country, as well as his government taking a loan worth MVR 300 million (US$19.5 million) from the Bank of Maldives (BML) without prior approval from parliament – a violation of Public Finance Act and Public Finance Regulation.

The MDP subsequently proposed the amendment to parliamentary regulation which would pave the way for a secret ballot in the vote to impeach President Waheed. However, the first attempt, despite approval from parliament’s General Affairs Committee was defeated in parliament by 39 to 34 votes.

Parliament this month passed the amendment when it was again re-submitted and approved with a 41 to 34 majority. The approval was backed by two government aligned parties, the Jumhoree Party (JP) and Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP).

Legality of two DRP seats

Meanwhile, Ibrahim has also raised doubts over the legality of the secret ballot decision, claiming it was passed by the votes cast by two DRP MPs Ahmed Nashiz and Ali Azim, whose seats he claimed were in question.

JP’s Policy and Legal Committee member Mohamed Haleem Ali had previously filed a case in the Supreme Court asking it to rule the concerned parliamentarians “unfit to stay in their elected seats” over the Bank of Maldives (BML)’s foreclosure on their loans.

“The Civil Court’s ruling number 935 of 2009 asks them to pay back the debts to BML. They didn’t. So I have submitted this case in accordance with subclause one of Article 73(c) and 74 of the constitution,” Haleem said at the time.

Subclause 1 of Article 73 of the Constitution of the Maldives states that a candidate for membership or a sitting member of the parliament would be disqualified if he has a decreed debt which is not being paid as per court rulings.

Article 74 states that any question concerning the qualifications or removal of a member of the People’s Majlis shall be determined by the Supreme Court.

Both MPs Nashiz and Azim were elected to parliament in 2009 general elections, the same year in which the civil court ordered them to pay the BML debts. The case was accepted by Supreme Court on December 10.

Supreme Court decision ‘void ab initio’: Ibra

Following the decision, former MP and Chair of Drafting Committee of Constitutional Assembly (Special Majlis) Ibrahim ‘Ibra’ Ismail stated that the decision was “void ab initio” (void from the beginning).

“They cannot suspend the decisions of the parliament. Parliament should not adhere to the decisions of Supreme Court,” he said.

“Parliament is free to conduct its business anyway they want to. Only the public can reprimand the parliament,” he added.

Counsel General of Parliament Fathimath Filza and Parliamentary Speaker Abdulla Shahid were not responding to calls at time of press.

No one should meddle with the courts: Supreme Court

In a previous bid, the Supreme Court issued an order quashing the decision of Parliament’s Independent Institutions Oversight Committee to not recognize the legitimacy of the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court.

Supreme Court in the order stated that while the Maldivian constitutional system broadly entertained the principle of separation of powers, no one power of the state can go beyond the limits set out in the constitution.

“According to articles 5, 6 and 7 of the constitution that came to force on 7 August 2008, the Maldivian constitutional system has explicitly set out that the executive power, legislative power and the judicial power is independent from one another and the boundaries of each power being clearly set out, it is unconstitutional for one power of the state to go beyond its constitutional boundaries as stated in article 8 of the constitution,” read the order.

The Supreme Court also in its order maintained that as per the constitution, the judicial power of the state was the sole constitutional authority in settling legal disputes between the institutions of the state or private parties.

“The judiciary established under the constitution is an independent and impartial institution and that all public institutions shall protect and uphold this independence and impartiality and therefore no institution shall interfere or influence the functioning of the courts,” it added.

Speaking to Minivan News yesterday, Former Foreign Minister and UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran Dr Ahmed Shaheed identified the “pathetic state of the judiciary” as one of the key human rights concerns he believed needed to be addressed in the Maldives.

“[The judiciary] is not only corrupt, but also coming under the influence of radical Islam, even to the extent of violating codified laws of the Maldives and clear international obligations,” Dr Shaheed claimed yesterday.

“Disregard for rule of law has also meant that a culture of impunity is deeply entrenched, rendering many of the human rights of the people meaningless.”


DRP will not back “personal and emotional” no-confidence vote against defence chief: MP Mausoom

The Deputy Parliamentary Group Leader of the government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Abdulla Mausoom has stated that there is no ‘spirit’ within his party to support the no-confidence motion against Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim.

Mausoom said although the DRP would support no-confidence motions against cabinet ministers where it thought such actions were justified, he believed the party would not back the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in trying to remove Nazim as defence chief as part of a “personal vendetta”.

In opposing the motion filed by the MDP, the MP said that while not speaking officially on behalf of the DRP whip line, he was nonetheless expressing the views of party members and MPs.

MDP Spokesperson MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor stated that the MDP did not wish to make a comment on Mausoom’s remarks but said that it was rather “surprising” for a person in such a high position to “speculate on a party’s whip line”.

“We would really like to see DRP follow a strict recipe rather than a random salad in their whip line. They ought to be clear of what their stand is,” Hamid added.

However, Mausoom dismissed Hamid’s statement, claiming that the MDP’s no -confidence motion against Defence Minister Nazim had been forwarded for “personal and emotional” reasons. The Kelaa constituency MP added that the DRP would not assist anyone in settling personal scores.

“The DRP believe that we have had enough of President Gayoom and President Nasheed. We are not in the mood to support anything that is not in the interest of this nation,” he told Minivan News.

Mausoom contended that MDP would not be able to pass such “personal-vendetta based motions” and repeated his claim that the motion lacked sufficient grounds to support its cause.

“DRP would not be reluctant to support a no-confidence motion of a cabinet minister if there are sufficient grounds to pass a no-confidence motion. We would vote anyone out if we had to, but not on personal grounds,” he said.

Asked if his comments were influenced by some DRP MPs and councillors quitting the party over its recent stand in supporting a decision to take an impeachment vote against President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan via secret ballot, Mausoom denied the suggestion.

DRP MPs Mohamed Hussain and Ali Saleem announced in the media that they have quit DRP over the party’s stand on the vote to make impeachment vote a secret ballot. The parliament passed the motion by a 41 to 34 majority after several DRP MPs chose to vote with the opposition in favour of the motion.

“Recent events that took place did not affect DRP. We have not got any reports that DRP councillors are quitting the party. It is just PPM councillors who had been working in the name of DRP that are leaving the party following the recent Supreme Court ruling,” he explained.

The Supreme Court recently struck down a clause in Decentralisation Act that barred councillors who had been elected under a party ticket from defecting to another party while in office.

“We believe that the current constitutional system greatly distinguishes the threshold of power between the executive and the parliament. We will not support motions to remove cabinet ministers for personal vendettas, because we believe that it is a duty of all political parties to safeguard the democratic values in the constitution,” he added.

Speaking yesterday to local media, Mausoom stressed that his party would aim to leave behind the country’s political past.

“The parliament has done a lot of things with regard to the emotional sentiments of 30 years [of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom] and three years [of former President Mohamed Nasheed]. Several bills, resolutions and cases have been filed. Lots of time has been wasted. DRP will not support any such thing submitted to parliament, be it PPM or MDP,” he said

Mausoom also warned the MDP of an impending “humiliation” should the main opposition party continue its pursuit of the defence minister’s dismissal.

“If the MDP parliamentarians do not want be humiliated in the parliament floor, if they do not wish to upset their grass root members, I call upon the party to withdraw the no-confidence motion filed against Defence Minister Nazim,” he said.

Mausoom, who previously served in the position of Tourism Minister during the Gayoom era, added that the no-confidence motion lacked a rationale in proposing to impeach the cabinet minister, alleging that the MDP sought to intimidate the government.

“The real motive of the MDP in filing the no confidence motion is to intimidate the government and to waste the time of parliament,” he said.

Mausoom stated that despite his remarks, the party had not yet decided on the matter. However, he claimed that the “general conscience” of the members of his party was “not in favour of impeaching Nazim”.

“Desperate attempt to weaken the government” – Defence Minister Nazim

The opposition MDP filed a no-confidence motion against the Defence Minister last Thursday, alleging he had misused his authority as the Acting Transport Minister by using the military to influence termination of civil contracts involving the government outside of due legal procedure.

The motion followed the government’s decision to void the agreement between itself and Indian infrastructure giant GMR over developing Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).

Defence Minister Nazim, who temporarily took over the transport ministry following the sacking of former Transport Minister Dr Ahmed Shamheed, played a pivotal role in the eviction of GMR agreement.

In a brief interview given to local media following the MDP’s decision to push a no-confidence motion against him, Nazim stated that move was a “desperate” attempt to weaken the government of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan.

“I believe such votes are taken to weaken this government. I do not believe such votes or motions could weaken this government. I believe the current government is very firm and united. There is a very strong between the partners of the government coalition; therefore I must say they won’t be able to succeed in such votes. This government is functioning far better than that,” he told local media outlet Sun Online.

Nazim also contended he had not done anything for which the opposition should impeach him, adding that his appointment to cabinet was unanimously decided by parties in the coalition government.

The defence minister also expressed confidence that the parliament members from government-aligned parties would defend him in a vote.


Parliament votes against keeping impeachment votes a secret vote

Members of parliament have vote against the proposed amendment to parliamentary regulation that would have otherwise made impeachment votes secret.

The opposition-initiated proposition was defeated in Monday’s parliamentary vote with a narrow margin of 34 to 39 votes.

Members of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) who earlier issued a three-line-whip, all voted in favour of the proposed amendment, while government aligned Jumhoree Party (JP) MPs also voted in favour of the proposition.

The government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ali Azim, whom the Civil Court had initially ordered police to produce in court, also voted with the opposition.

The amendment was proposed to the parliament by MDP MP Mohamed Shifaz and was approved by the parliament’s general affairs committee for the second time, after a previous decision by the committee was declared void by the Counsellor General Fathmath Filza on the grounds that the committee meeting on October 23 where it was voted through took place in violation of the rules.

The amendment was earlier proposed by Independent MP for Dhaalu Atoll Kudahuvadhoo, Ahmed Amir, who later withdrew the amendment claiming that his constituents did not “approve” of his decision.

During the parliamentary debate held prior to the vote, several MPs highlighted that it was important for such critical votes to be made a secret ballot since it directly related to the safety of the MPs themselves. Other MPs claimed that making such votes a secret ballot was “undemocratic” and conflicted with the constitution and its spirit.

Speaking in the debate, government-aligned Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Shifaq Mufeed stated that there were “devious plans” behind making impeachment votes a secret and claimed that it was against the law.

“To establish a procedure to hide actions of the parliament is a clear violation of the constitution.  A parliamentary session can only be held in closed doors only on matters that concerns the national security and public order,” Mufeed argued.

He added that in the case where a parliamentary vote goes to a stalemate the speaker should cast his vote and therefore it would not be a secret vote anyway, so it was “meaningless” to make parliamentary votes a secret ballot.

PPM MP Ali Arif also echoed similar remarks claiming that the current amendment excludes the impeachment votes taken against parliament speaker and deputy speaker so therefore it was very unjust.

He also added that the purpose of the amendment was “very cowardly” and affected the reputation of parliamentarians, and questioned the integrity of those MPs who had proposed such an amendment.

Meanwhile JP MP Alhan Fahmy speaking in the debate, suggested that it was not a wise decision to keep the vote open especially at a time the country was going through severe political turbulence and where there remained doubt over the security of MPs.

All the MDP MPs who spoke during today’s session supported the proposition arguing that members could be subjected to personal vendettas and hatred based on the way he or she voted.


Today’s parliamentary session had to be called off after the vote as the parliament order was lost. Several MDP MPs took point of orders claiming that the government had influenced the vote by threatening MPs.

Speaking to Minivan News, former MDP Chairperson and MP Mariya Ahmed Didi claimed that she believed today’s vote was influenced and that MPs were “being intimidated”.

“Many MPs who are afraid to say it openly claimed they had received all sorts of threats from the government,” she said.

She added that in the current political environment where the police and the military have “openly brutalised MPs” and no action been taken against them, MPs had hesitated in supporting the amendment.

This she said was particularly reflected in DRP’s stand towards the votes.

“After their MPs were served summons for arrest the DRP, whom many thought would collaborate with [MDP] on this, were scared and didn’t see these as idle threats,” she explained.

Didi added that she and her party would not give up despite their disappointment in parliament today.

Earlier, JP MP Abdulla Jabir and MDP MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor – also the party’s international spokesperson – were arrested along with several opposition figures including former SAARC Secretary General and Special Envoy to the former President, Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, former Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair and his wife Mariyam Faiz, while in an uninhabited island.

Police claimed that they found large amounts of “suspected” drugs and alcohol upon searching the island with a court warrant.

The arrests were made “based on information received by police intelligence,” police said. Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef told Haveeru that the suspects were arrested with alcohol and “hash oil”.

Following the arrests around midnight, the suspects were taken to Kulhudhufushi in Haa Dhaal Atoll, and Zaki was hospitalised.

Despite a police attempt to extend the detention periods all suspects including the two MPs have now been released by the Kulhudhufushi Magistrate Court, with the exception of Hamdan Zaki.

The opposition MDP alleged that the arrests were a politically-motivated attempt to disrupt parliament ahead of a no confidence motion against President Mohamed Waheed, and the amendment to voting procedure to make such votes secret. A second no-confidence motion against Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel was withdrawn this week pending the outcome of the secret vote amendment.

Ahead of the vote, Civil Court also issued an order on Sunday to take DRP MPs Mohamed Nashiz and Ali Azim into custody and present them in court.

The order was cancelled later the same day, on the grounds that the judge presiding over the case was out of the country.

Meanwhile, Presidents Office Spokesperson Abbas Adil Riza has earlier said that it would use all threatened legal action “using all the powers of the government” against the People’s Majlis to “bring parliament back to the right path”. He made the remarkin an appearance on government-aligned private broadcaster DhiTV on October 25.

“The constitution and parliamentary rules of procedure clearly state which votes are to be conducted through secret ballot. The rest of the votes should be open,” he said.

Riza heavily criticised the committee decision to approve the amendment, insisting that it violated the parliamentary rules on conducting committees meetings and votes.


MDP’s Ali Waheed “confident” Majlis will remove President and Home Minister

Deputy Leader of Maldivian Democratic Party’s Parliamentary Group Ali Waheed has expressed his confidence that his party will get the votes it needs to secure no-confidence motions against the President and the Home Minister.

“We have full confidence in this. That is why we proposed it in the first place,” he said. “We want things to go in a democratic way and we accept the decision of the Maldivian people.”

The opposition MDP announced its intentions to submit the motions earlier this month.

Regarding President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan, the MDP alleged that he had destroyed the sensitive economy of the nation and that his handling of the economy had destroyed foreign investor confidence in the Maldives.

Justifying the move against Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, MDP members have criticised what they see as Jameel’s failure to probe human rights abuses surrounding the February 7 transfer of presidential power.

The party also cited this year’s increase in murders and assault as the reason behind the move.

Majlis regulations state that 26 votes are needed to get a no-confidence motion onto the floor of the house, with a two-thirds majority of the full assembly (52 of 77) required to impeach the president.

Ali Waheed said that he was unable to reveal the stage at which negotiations with other parties had reached, saying instead.

“I’m not in a state to disclose that. However, we believe that the truth will be revealed in time. Let’s work with the positive things and success will follow.”

An official from the Majlis confirmed today that the necessary votes had been received and that the Counsel General had advised the Speaker of the Majlis that the motion can be tabled.

Figures received from the Majlis show that the MDP currently holds 30 seats in the Majlis, with government-aligned parties holding 39 seats and 7 independents remaining.

One seat in the Majlis is currently empty after the murder of Dr Afrasheem Ali earlier this month. A by-election for his Ungoofaru constituency has been scheduled for December.

Speaking at a press conference outside the Majlis yesterday, Ali Waheed said that discussions within the Majlis had indicated potential divisions within the governing coalition, reported local media.

Nasheed’s Allowances

At the same press conference Ali Waheed expressed his concern over the withholding of office allowances to President Nasheed, suggesting that Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad may be summoned before the Majlis if these privileges continue to be withheld.

“This is just another obstacle put up in front of us and we will tackle it accordingly,” he told Minivan News today.

Local media this week gave conflicting statements regarding the reasons for the withholding of Nasheed’s office allowance.

Sun Online reported Jihad as saying that the issue was related to the unknown location of Nasheed’s office whereas Haveeru said that the suspension of privileges was related to a disagreement over whether former presidents were required to conduct charitable activities.

“In reality, the office should be involved in holding social activities. However, the concern of these members is that there is no social work to be seen by the (Nasheed’s) office,” Jihad was quoted by Haveeru.

“It has to be clarified. Hence the financial allowances have been halted for the time being. We still haven’t been provided with the information we sought in relation to the office,” Jihad told the paper.

Jihad was not responding to calls at the time of press when contacted for clarification.

Article 8 of the Protection and Privileges for Former Presidents Act (Dhivehi) states, “In the event that a former president wishes to conduct social work beneficial to the community, the state shall provide up to MVR175,000 a month to arrange for an office, employees and other matters.”

Article 128 of the constitution states that a former president “serving his term of office lawfully without committing any offence, shall be entitled to the highest honour dignity, protection, financial privileges and other privileges entitled to a person who has served in the highest office of the land.”

Nasheed is currently on trial for the alleged illegal detention of Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed shortly before his controversial resignation in February this year.

However, Jihad was reported as saying earlier this week that  Nasheed would be provided any allowances forthcoming from the 2009 Former Presidents’ Privileges and Protection Act .


MDP submits no-confidence motion against President

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has submitted a no-confidence motion in parliament against President Dr Waheed Hassan Manik.

According to MDP, the no-confidence motion was submitted to the parliament in response to orders from by Waheed to attack citizens and MDP MPs, and to carry out acts of inhumanity on February 8 which were executed by the army and police.

The MDP alleged that President Waheed had destroyed the sensitive economy of the nation and that his handling of the economy has destroyed foreign investor confidence in the Maldives.

The MDP also noted that Dr Waheed’s government had not taken appropriate measures to curb gang violence in the country.

The party also raised the government’s recent loan of MVR 300 million (US$19.5 million) from the Bank of Maldives (BML) without the consent of the parliament as legally required.

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Ahmed Nihan told Minivan News that he was “very confident all PPM MPs are with Dr Waheed and this no-confidence motion vote will fail in parliament.”

Nihan said the MDP’s objective was to obstruct parliament from conducting its work, to waste parliament’s time, and to disturb President Waheed.

‘’MDP also have it on their agenda to split the coalition parties,’’ he added. ‘’They are doing this just to pressure the parliamentarians at a time when the people of the nation are in need of the parliament.’’

Nihan reiterated that many of the important bills submitted to the parliament by MPs have been sitting in parliament for ages without being passed.

He also criticised the MDP for saying that Dr Waheed had destroyed the economy of the state, and said that MDP was responsible for ‘’bringing [Indian airport developer] GMR to the Maldives, and selling Dhiraagu shares to Cable and Wireless.’’

Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) MP Dr Abdulla Mausoon said the party had not discussed the matter, but said the DRP would not follow the MDP.

“Although we haven’t officially decided on the matter our view on it is already known. We will not support any irresponsible issues created by MDP,’’ Dr Mausoom said. “All the DRP MPs that have already met me have joked about this. We will not dance to the beat of the MDP,’’ he said.

He also said he believed the MDP was trying to drive media attention away from former President Mohamed Nasheed’s ongoing trial.

Jumhoree Party (JP) MP Alhan Fahmy recently said that he would submit a no-confidence motion against President Dr Waheed Hassan and said he was receiving cooperation from MDP and other parties in parliament.

Later his party’s leadership dismissed the comments he made and said the party was in support of Dr Waheed.

Parliament figures show that MDP has 30 MPs, Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) has 13 MPs, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has 17 MPs, Jumhoree Party (JP) has 5 MPs, Dhivehi Qaumy Party (DQP) has one MP, People’s Alliance Party (PA) has 3 MPs, while 7 MPs remain independent.

It takes a two-thirds majority to win a no-confidence motion against the President or Vice President.