MDP files no-confidence motion against the Prosecutor General

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has filed a no-confidence motion against the Prosecutor General (PG) Ahmed Muiz today (October 24) claiming that that he had failed in taking action against the police and the military officers who mutinied against former President Mohamed Nasheed on February 2012.

Nasheed was forced to step down after his decision to arrest the Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed led to twenty-two days of continuous anti-government protests escalating into the mutiny. Following the ousting of its government, the then-ruling MDP alleged that Nasheed had been ousted in a bloodless coup d’état.

Despite the claims, a Commission of National Inquiry (CoNI) established by Nasheed’s successor Dr Mohamed Waheed – including a Singaporean judge, a representee nominated by Nasheed, and three other members handpicked by Waheed – concluded that the transfer did not amount to a coup, proclaiming Waheed appointment to have been legal.

However, the CoNI’s final report admitted that both officers of the police and military were involved in several unlawful activities during the change of government, making recommendations to the government to take action against them.

The MDP in its statement argued that the CoNI report had given clear evidence of gross misconduct by the police and the military that included brutalizing protesters and undermining fundamental rights guaranteed to the people by the constitution.

The party alleged that the PG – despite having the power, authority, and the mandate to look into such actions – had failed to take any action against the wrongdoing noted in the CoNI report.

Other reasons for filing the motion, the statement claimed, included the failure to come up with any results despite being mandated to oversee the functioning of the country’s criminal justice system, and the prioritising of personal over national interests when ordering investigations into criminal wrongdoings.

The statement further alleged that the PG has undermined the rights of the people due to the PG’s negligence in carrying out his duties.

The party also claimed that the PG had been silent to several massive discrepancies within the courts and had refused to act even at times when actions by the courts were obviously in contrast with laws and democratic norms.

Does not hold the qualities required by the constitution: MDP

“Based on aforementioned reasons, [we] file a case requesting the parliament to take no-confidence motion as per section 178(a) of the Parliamentary Regulations, against the Prosecutor General Ahmed Muiz, as he does not hold the qualities of an Independent and Impartial Prosecutor General as required by the Article 220 of the constitution,” read the statement.

Prosecutor General Muiz has come under heavy fire from the MDP for recent criminal charges filed against its senior party members, including its parliamentarians. The party has accused Muizz of being biased and politically aligned with government parties.

MDP presidential candidate Nasheed has previously alleged that Muiz’s independence and impartiality had been compromised in return for his job security.

Nasheed at the time claimed that the PG had fashioned criminal charges against people in such a fashion as to appease government-aligned groups in the parliament, thus ensuring he can remain in his position.

“Hamid Abdul Ghafoor…is facing charges for possessing alcohol and narcotics… A similar kind of thing was found from the suit case of Ahmed ‘Sun travel’ Shiyam [Leader of Maldivian Development Alliance],” said Nasheed said at the time.

“But the Prosecutor General did not notice that both cases had the same offence,”

However, following the recent decision by the government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) to support Nasheed, the opposition group has now become the majority in parliament.

The opposition MDP currently commands the support of 44 MPs that includes 34 members of the party and 10 from the DRP.

The MDP has meanwhile also filed similar no-confidence motions against the Attorney General, Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim, Parliament’s Deputy Speaker Ahmed Nazim and Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb for their roles in the government’s attempt to stall the presidential elections.


Police present MDP MP Jabir to Criminal Court for alcohol raid trial

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Abdulla Jabir was presented to the Criminal Court by police today, after being kept in custody since Tuesday (September 10) ahead of his trial for alleged possession of alcohol and cannabis.

Jabir and fellow MDP MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor are among several senior party figures charged with drug and alcohol offences, after being arrested on on Hondaidhoo Island in November whilst allegedly under the influence of illegal substances.

While Jabir at the time of his arrest was a member of the Jumhoree Party (JP) – he later defected to the opposition – the MDP has maintained that his arrest was politically motivated to coincide with a no confidence motion at the time against senior government figures.

The MDP has alleged that the treatment of its MPs, including, Jabir was noticeably different to those of other parties currently aligned to the present government, accusing prosecutors of persecuting its members and supporters.

The trial began earlier this month, with Ghafoor being the only MP in attendance to hear charges against him concerning the case.

A total of 10 people taken into police custody on November 16 after officers obtain a warrant to search the island of Hondaidhoo.

Today’s hearing

Criminal Court Spokesperson Ahmed Mohamed Manik said state prosecutors during the hearing read out a list of charges against Jabir. The MDP MP will be given a chance to respond to these charges against him at the next hearing, Manik added.

Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed to Minivan News that Jabir had been held in police custody ahead of the hearing, under an order previously issued by the Criminal Court. Police did not provide any further details on where the MP had been detained.

Jabir earlier this week had his passport held by immigration officials when trying to leave the country, after previously failing to attend the opening hearing of the trial into the charges against him.

Explaining the absence, MDP MP Imthiyaz Fahmy ‘Inthi’ told Minivan News he understood Jabir had not received a summons from the Criminal Court to attend the trial, but would have attended if having done so.

“He has been away from Male’ campaigning [for the presidential election held on September 7] and had not therefore received a summons,” he said, accusing the country’s courts of purposefully scheduling hearings against MDP MPs to try and stymie the party’s election campaign.

Fahmy additionally claimed that the Criminal Court had failed to follow its own procedures, and that a summons had to be re-sent if not received by the individual in question.

By comparison, he alleged that Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP and Deputy Speak of Parliament Ahmed Nazim had failed to respond to 12 summons without arrest in relation to his trial for fraud – charges which he was later acquitted of. That case is now the subject of an ongoing High Court appeal.

Fahmy said although the MDP had not been requested to provide a lawyer for Jabir, the party would be ready to provide assistance to him in what it continues to allege is a “politically motivated” arrest.

Fahmy also alleged that the judiciary was seeking to fast track cases against MDP members to hinder the party and its campaigning ahead of a run-off vote scheduled for September 28.

He himself is currently facing a charge of “disobeying orders” over allegedly contemptuous remarks he made against the judiciary during a television show.

Fahmy argued that Jabir, along with Hamid Abdul Ghafoor and the son of the former President Nasheed’s Special Envoy, Mohamed Hamdhoon Zaki, were on a “private island” when they arrested by police officers, who he alleged beat and then arrested them.

“This all happened at the time of a no confidence motion against Minister of Defence Mohamed Nazim and is a clear attempt at intimidation,” claimed Fahmy.

He said that the arrest was against Majlis regulations that say an MP could not be arrested at the time of a no confidence vote.

The no confidence vote had been scheduled for April 8, but was postponed after MDP MPs objected to a decision to not hold the vote in secret despite a parliamentary decision approving a secret ballot.

Previous MP liquor cases

Police last year forwarded a case for prosecution against MP Ahmed ‘Sun Travel’ Shiyam, after a bottle of alcohol was allegedly found in his luggage in March 2012 upon his return to the Maldives after an overseas trip.

The bottle was allegedly discovered when his luggage was screened.

Shiyam is the head of the Maldives Development Alliance (MDA), a new party allied with the Progressive Party of the Maldives and its bid for the presidency on September 28.

Newspaper Haveeru reported on September 3 this year that the case was sent back to police by the Prosecutor General’s Office in August 2012 to clarify further information.

Police have yet to send the case to the PG office over a year later.

The penalty for alcohol possession in the penal code is either a fine of between MVR1,000 to MVR3,000 or imprisonment, banishment or house arrest between one to three years.


Committee rejects secret voting for parliamentary no confidence motions

Parliament’s General Purpose Committee has rejected procedural amendments to allow secret voting for no confidence motions, such as one presently scheduled against President Dr Mohamed Waheed.

Committee Chair MP Abdulla Abdul Raheem said the decision, which will now be forwarded to the parliament floor for approval, meant that the existing regulations outlining procedures for no confidence votes approved back in March 2010 would remain in place.

The issue had been sent to the committee by Speaker Abdulla Shahid to settle a “way forward” for no confidence motions after the Supreme Court last month struck down amendments allowing secret voting in parliament, Raheem said today.

The General Purpose Committee Committee voted four to three against the amendment proposed by opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Nazim Rashaad to specify instances whereby parliament could use secret voting and hold sittings behind closed doors, Sun Online reported today.

MPs representing several coalition parties in the unity government of President Waheed, which make up the majority of the committee’s members, all voted against the amendments, with the deciding vote cast by Chairperson Raheem.

Raheem told Minivan News that amendments for secret voting had been rejected over concerns that voting behind closed doors was unconstitutional and may lead to further conflict with the Supreme Court.

Secret voting was the subject of one of two Supreme Court rulings this year to be previously criticised by opposition, government-aligned and independent MPs as an unconstitutional “challenge to the separation of powers.”

In its judgement (Dhivehi) on the constitutionality of secret ballots for no-confidence votes, the Supreme Court majority opinion contended that the rule contravened article 85 of the constitution as well as parliamentary principles and norms of free and democratic societies.

Raheem added that in line with this ruling, the committee had instead chosen to retain existing regulations on no confidence motions that had been in use since March 2010. He claimed these measures had been previously approved by bodies like the International-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

Priority issue

Addressing today’s vote, government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Parliamentary Group Leader Abdulla Mausoom claimed that the rejection of the procedural issue of secret voting had not been a major concern for the party.

“We do not see this is a priority issue at the moment. We are brave enough as a party to vote transparently on these matters,” he said.

Meanwhile, MDP MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor claimed that the opposition party would not back away from trying to vote out senior government figures include President Waheed, despite failing to secure a secret ballot.

“[President] Waheed’s no confidence motion still stands, whether the vote is secret or not is irrelevant,” he claimed.

Ghafoor alleged that the party had originally sought to have a no confidence motion behind closed doors over fears MPs would be too scared to vote in the current climate following the controversial transfer of power on February 7, 2012.

The MDP has maintained that the transfer of power that saw former President Nasheed resign from office following a mutiny by sections of the military and police was a “coup d’etat”.

“This is not a normal situation at present, the Supreme Court itself is part of this coup government,” Ghafoor claimed.

He said that while that the MDP had withdrawn no-confidence votes against Home Minister Mohamed Jameel and Defense Minister Mohamed Nazim on April 8 this year due to a lack of confidence in the vote, the party did not rule out rescheduling at a later date.

MDP MPs claimed upon withdrawing the no confidence motions earlier this month that the government-aligned DRP had agreed to vote in favour of the motions before reversing the decision at the eleventh hour.

MPs of the government-aligned Jumhooree Party (JP) and DRP had voted in favour of a secret ballot for no-confidence votes in December 2012.

Ghafoor claimed that with the recent defection of Speaker Shahid to the MDP and ongoing changes to the composition of parliament, the intention remained to try and remove the defence and home minsters as well as President Waheed.

“The [no confidence] strategy is not failed yet. Though the vote is not in our favour at the moment, things are always changing.”


Supreme Court rules secret ballot, dismissal of CSC chair unconstitutional

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that contested decisions by parliament to remove Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chair Mohamed Fahmy Hassan and conduct no-confidence votes through secret ballot are unconstitutional.

On December 3, 2012, 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. The house rules were changed with pending no-confidence motions against President Dr Mohamed Waheed and Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed submitted by the formerly ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

In late November, parliament dismissed Fahmy in a 38-32 vote after the Independent Institutions Committee investigated a complaint of sexual harassment by a female employee of the CSC.

Both moves were challenged at the Supreme Court, which issued injunctions or stay orders to parliament to halt both conducting no-confidence votes through secret ballot and appointing a replacement to the CSC, pending rulings on the legality of the decisions.

In its judgment (Dhivehi) on the constitutionality of secret ballots for no-confidence votes, the Supreme Court ruled 6-1 to strike down the amendment to parliament’s standing orders as unconstitutional. The majority opinion contended that the move contravened article 85 of the constitution as well as parliamentary principles and norms of free and democratic societies.

Article 85 stipulates that meetings of the People’s Majlis and its committees must be open to the public.

In the second judgment (Dhivehi) on Thursday night, the Supreme Court noted that Fahmy was alleged to have committed a criminal offence and contended that the Independent Institutions Committee violated due process and principles of criminal justice procedure in dealing with the accused.

The Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that Fahmy would receive two punishments for the same crime if he was convicted at court following his dismissal by parliament (double jeopardy). Following the judgment, Fahmy would be reinstated and compensated for lost wages since December 2012.

Delivering the judgment, Supreme Court Justice Abdulla Saeed reportedly said that a person should be considered innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law and was entitled to protect his reputation and dignity.

Dissenting opinion

Meanwhile, Justice Ahmed Muthasim Adnan – the only Supreme Court justice with a background in common law – issued dissenting opinions in both cases.

On the constitutionality of the secret ballot, Justice Adnan noted that article 101(f) of the constitution states that “the regulations governing the functioning of the People’s Majlis shall specify the principles and procedures concerning a resolution to remove the President or Vice President from office as provided in this Constitution.”

Unless a clause added to the regulation was explicitly in violation of the constitution, Justice Adnan said that he believed it “could not be challenged in any court in the Maldives.”

He further noted that while article 85 of the constitution requires parliamentary proceedings to be open to the public, 85(b) states that a majority of MPs present and voting could decide to exclude the public or press “if there is a compelling need to do so in the interest of public order or national security.”

Moreover, article 85(c) states, “Article (b) does not prevent the People’s Majlis from specifying additional reasons for excluding the public from all or any part of a committee meeting of the People’s Majlis.”

He added that the secret ballot would be taken at a sitting open to the public.

In the case submitted by Fahmy contesting his dismissal, Justice Adnan’s dissenting opinion noted that article 187(a) of the constitution authorised parliament to remove members of the CSC “on the ground of misconduct, incapacity or incompetence.”

Article 187(b) meanwhile states, “a finding to that effect by a committee of the People’s Majlis pursuant to article (a), and upon the approval of such finding by the People’s Majlis by a majority of those present and voting, calling for the member’s removal from office, such member shall be deemed removed from office.”

Justice Adnan argued that an inquiry by a parliamentary committee into alleged misconduct would not be a criminal investigation. Therefore, he added, the oversight committee would not be required to prove guilt to the extent required at trial before making a decision.

He further noted that parliament’s dismissal under the authority of article 187 and a possible conviction at a late date could not be considered meting out two punishments for the same offence.

Separation of powers

Following the injunctions issued by the Supreme Court in December 2012, MDP MP Eva Abdulla told Minivan News that the supremacy of parliament was at stake in the cases before the apex court.

“By its actions, the Supreme Court is challenging the separation of powers that underpins the constitutional basis of governance,” Eva said.

Meanwhile, Independent MP for Kulhudhufushi South, Mohamed ‘Kutti’ Nasheed, contended in his blog on 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, which did not include dismissal of members of independent institutions and amendments to Majlis regulations.

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.

Former legal reform minister Nasheed is chair of the Independent Institutions Committee. Asked by the Supreme Court to hand over minutes of the committee inquiry, Nasheed had refused.


Home minister confident ahead of parliamentary no-confidence vote

Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has said he expects to successfully defend himself within the People’s Majlis against a no-confidence motion submitted this month by the opposition Maldivan Democratic Party (MDP).

Local media reported Friday (December 21) that Parliamentary Speaker Abdulla Shahid has sent the required 14-day notice to Dr Jameel informing him of a second no-confidence motion submitted by the MDP against him.

The motion was forwarded by the opposition party over allegations the home minister had failed to control civil peace and order in the country. A previous motion submitted by the MDP against Dr Jameel was withdrawn by the party for unexplained reasons.

Earlier this month, parliament also tabled a no-confidence motion filed against Defence Minister Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim, despite a Supreme Court injunction ordering parliament to halt all pending no-confidence votes.

The People’s Majlis secretariat revealed at the time that Defence Minister Nazim has been given the required 14-day notice and his ministry also duly informed by Speaker Abdulla Shahid. A no-confidence motion against President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan is also in parliament awaiting scheduling.

Confirming that the 14 day notice ahead of the second no-confidence vote against him had now been received, Dr Jameel claimed he expected to successfully defend himself from the motion, as would other senior government representatives.

“[The no-confidence motion] is part of a democratic process that the government of the day must always be prepared to face. I feel it’s equally vital for those of us sitting in the government to inform the public and People’s Majlis of our performance and decisions.”

“I am sure once our side of the story is heard by the Majlis, the concerns and charges raised in the motion will become clearer and will be seen as baseless. It’s important in such a motion, in my opinion, to appear in the Majlis and fully cooperate with this democratic exercise,” he told Minivan News.

Dr Jameel added that the would not comment on whether he felt the MDP could garner enough support for the motion, referring the question to the opposition party.

MDP allegations

After last week submitting the bill, which was backed by 17 of MDP MPs, the opposition party accused the Home Minister of  failing to control law and order in the country and therefore holding ultimate responsibility for the loss of eight lives.

The MDP further referred to an incident in which a police officer struck a speeding motorcyclist with his baton.  The action caused the vehicle – alleged to have been driven by a suspected robber – to collide with another man’s motorcycle and killing him.

Police at the time did not reveal the involvement of the police officer in the death of the bystander. Video footage of the incident was subsequently leaked to the media.  The MDP alleged that Home Minister Jameel had tried to cover up police involvement in the death.

MDP MP and Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor claimed there was sufficient support in the Majlis to back the three no-confidence motions the party submitted against Dr Jameel, President Waheed and Defense Minister Nazim.

“We believe it is possible and necessary to [pursue the no confidence motions]. If you look at all cases, it is quite clear that all have acted unconstitutionally. This applies to all three cases,” he said.

In light of the government’s recent decision to terminate a sovereign agreement with India-based infrastructure group GMR over developing Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA), Ghafoor contended that sufficient support remained in parliament to vote against the government in all three cases.

“We believe there are enough sensible MPs who understand the need for a legal ouster of an unelected executive,” he claimed.

Ghafoor added that the party was confident that a majority of MPs would not continue to allow what he alleged was the growing role of radicalism within the executive’s decision.  He contended this influence had been seen in the government’s attitude against not only parliament, but foreign investment in the form of GMR.

“You have a government without any democratic mandate taking major decisions against parliament and foreign investors,” he added.

Earlier this week, government-aligned Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) Parliamentary Group Leader and MP Abdulla Yameen alleged in local media that any damage to relations between India and the Maldives following the GMR contract termination had been the result of the actions of the National Movement.

The National Movement is made up of several representatives in the coalition government of President Waheed, notably including the religious conservative Adhaalath Party (AP).

During an interview with private broadcaster DhiTV on Tuesday (December 18), Yameen claimed that the airport was not withdrawn from GMR due to the pressure of National Movement, which had strongly opposed the deal, but rather a unanimous decision by the coalition government.

However, Yamin alleged that during rallies held by the National Movement, some participants spoke in a tone about GMR and the airport development that might have caused diplomatic issues with India.

According to Sun Online, Yameen was also quoted as claiming that the ongoing protests and rallies being held by the National Movement were unnecessary.  He added that the Maldives might have to face difficulties due to the recent activities of the National Movement.

Days earlier, National Movement steering committee member and Minister of State for Finance Abbas Adil Riza said efforts would be taken to “break up” parliament should its dispute with the Supreme Court over holding temporary secret ballots for upcoming no-confidence votes continue.

However, speaking on December 9, government-aligned Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Abdulla Mausoom stated there was 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 what he believed was a “personal vendetta”.

Mausoom contended that, for the vote against Defence Minister Nazim at least, the MDP would not be able to pass such “personal vendetta-based motions” and repeated his claim that the motion lacked sufficient grounds to be supported.


Jumhoree Party MP Abdulla Jabir jumps back to MDP, pledges to oust President Waheed

Ousted Jumhoree Party (JP) Deputy leader and MP Abdulla Jabir has rejoined the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), pledging to oust President Mohamed Waheed Hassan.

The MP for Kaashidhoo signed with MDP last night during the party’s ‘Vaudhuge Dhathuru’ (Journey of pledges) campaign tour near the island of Hulhudhufaaru in Raa Atoll.

After joining the MDP, Jabir told the local press that he had joined the party because he believed it was with MDP that he saw progress in politics. He also said that he would spend all his time committed to MDP and its success.

Jabir added that despite the MDP candidate losing the weekend’s by-election to a Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) candidate, his joining the party meant an addition of one more parliamentary seat to MDP.

Meanwhile, MDP Parliamentary Group Leader MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said the party was working to remove President Waheed and hold early elections, adding that the addition of MP Jabir to the parliamentary group would further this goal.

Jabir’s signing to MDP comes shortly after he was removed from the position of Deputy Leader of the JP in what he described as “a coup” within JP. All members aside from two voted in favor of Jabir’s removal from his position following the vote taken by the JP council.

Previously speaking during an MDP rally held on Ungoofaaru during by-election campaigning, Jabir announced his support for MDP’s campaign to oust President Waheed, and promised to contribute in his personal and financial capacity.

Speaking to Minivan News, Jabir said that he joined the MDP to support its fight against torture and police brutality and to support its democracy movement. He alleged that current government was indulging in acts of corruption and nepotism.

“What we see today is that Waheed’s government is resorting to brutality and torture is run like a corrupt and nepotistic regime that dishonors business agreements,” he said.

Asked why he had left MDP previously, Jabir stated that there was “no need to talk about the past”.

“What happened in the past should stay in the past. This is a new chapter. I look forward to work with the MDP parliamentary group to liberate this country from Waheed’s brutality and his corrupt government,” he said.

Antagonism towards Waheed’s government

Jabir became an outspoken critic of President Waheed after he was arrested from the inhabited island Hodaidhoo and alleged police brutality.

Those arrested included MDP MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor – also the party’s international spokesperson – along with former SAARC Secretary General and Special Envoy to the former President, Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, former Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair and his wife Mariyam Faiz.

Police claimed 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.

Recently, resorts owned by Jabir were issued with final warning notices for non-payment of rent. The move came days after he turned against the government, and was described by Jabir as the government’s effort to destroy a political opponent.

“I know following the recent political developments and due to my new opposition to the current government, [President] Waheed has now ordered the tourism minister to issue the repayment notice so as to threaten his political opponents,” declared Jabir.

“This is highly politically motivated. He knew I was the one behind submitting the amendment to parliamentary regulations to make the impeachment vote a secret ballot. It was I who in the first place drafted that amendment and gave it to MP Ahmed Amir. They know this but I will still continue to work for that,” he explained.

Since then, Jabir openly declared his support to MDP’s efforts to make parliamentary impeachment votes a secret ballot.

The first amendment proposed to the parliamentary regulations to bring the change by MDP was defeated on the parliament floor. However, a second amendment has been proposed and the parliament is to take a vote on the amendment on Monday.

Defection history

Jabir is well known for his frequent defections from party to party. His first political party was Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP) during the presidency of Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom. He then joined former party of PPM Parliamentary Group leader MP Yameen Abdul Gayoom, the People’s Alliance (PA).

Jabir defected to the JP ahead of the 2008 presidential elections and backed JP leader and business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim.  Jabir was appointed as the party’s deputy leader.

He then went on to join the MDP and hold senior positions within the party. He also announced his intention to contest for the MDP chairmanship.

However, during the protests following the detention of Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed, Jabir once again declared that he had defected from MDP back to the JP.

In the meantime Jabir’s wife, former SAARC Secretary General Dhiyana Saeed, also resigned from her position in SAARC and joined the opposition movement against former President Mohamed Nasheed.

Jabir became an MP after winning the by-election held to elect an MP to the vacant seat of Kaashidhoo constituency on a JP ticket. He was backed by President Waheed and a coalition of parties supporting his government.

THe PPM who initially had its own candidate for the election also backed Jabir.


MDP withdraws no-confidence motion against Home Minister Jameel

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Monday withdrawn a no confidence motion submitted to parliament against Minister of Home Affairs Mohamed Jameel Ahmed.

According to parliament, MDP parliamentary group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had submitted a letter stating that the group had “decided not to carry forward at this time the no confidence motion against Home Minister Dr Jameel which was submitted under Article 177(a) of the Parliament regulations.”

Solih declined to share the reasons behind the withdrawal when speaking to local media, saying instead that “perhaps the reasons may be revealed later”.

Following the submission of the motion in early October, MDP MP Imthiyaz Fahmy had said that the action had been taken over concerns regarding what he alleged was an “unprecedented increase in murders and assault” since the transfer of power. He further criticized Jameel’s failure to probe human rights abuses conducted by police on February 8.

MDP has also submitted a no confidence motion against President Mohamed Waheed Hassan, which has not yet been placed on schedule in the parliament.

Furthermore, the Public Affairs Committee has approved an amendment to the parliament regulations allowing secret ballots when conducting no confidence votes. The matter is now pending review and voting on the parliament floor, which is currently scheduled for November 19.

Home Minister Jameel was unable to speak to Minivan News this afternoon, and was later not responding to calls.

MDP Parliamentary Group leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was not responding to calls and deputy leader Ali Waheed’s phone was switched off at the time of press.


JP MP Alhan Fahmy to initiate no-confidence vote against President and Vice President

Jumhoree Party (JP) MP Alhan Fahmy has said today that he is in discussions with MPs from other parties to submit a motion to take a no confidence vote against both President Mohamed Waheed Hassan and Vice President Mohamed Waheed Deen.

Fahmy was initially elected to parliament as an MP representing the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP). He then transferred to the Maldivain Democratic Party (MDP), before signing with JP earlier this year. He was elected as Vice President of MDP during his time in the party.

Fahmy told local media today that he was initiating this vote for two specific reasons:  the first being Waheed’s negative remarks about the Majlis in his last trip to Sri Lanka, and secondly, that in Fahmy’s view neither Waheed nor Deen were fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities.

“[Waheed] has said that MPs just stay home without doing any work. That we take our salary and yet are always on leave. Waheed cannot make a statement like that,” Fahmy told Haveeru.

“That is encroachment on the privileges of MPs. This is a very worrying matter. What is going to happen if while staying as the highest authority in the state, he treats the parliament like sh*t?” Fahmy was quoted as saying.

He furthermore stated that both Waheed and Waheed Deen had failed to perform up to the responsibilities of the post detailed in article 100(a) of the Constitution of the Maldives.

Article 100(a) states the Majlis can remove a President or Vice President on grounds of violating a tenet of Islam or the constitution, conduct unsuited to the office, or an inability to carry out the office’s duties.

Removal of both President and Vice President simultaneously would trigger constitutional clauses requiring the Speaker of the Majlis Abdulla Shahid to assume office and to organise elections within 60 days.

According to Fahmy, his initiative was getting support from the opposition MDP, and he specifically noted the work of the party’s Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik.

Fahmy said he is now in the process of drafting the motion, expressing confidence that he would be able to obtain signatures from 25 MPs to submit the motion as per the regulations.

According to article 100 (e) of the constitution, a no confidence vote can be passed with votes from two-thirds of the total numbers of MPs in parliament, which amounts to 52 votes.

The constitution also requires 14 days notice to be given before the matter is voted upon, as well as providing both the President and Vice President with the opportunity to defend themselves against their respective charges.

Meanwhile, President of Jumhoree Party Ibrahim Didi, who formerly served in the same position at MDP, expressed concern over Fahmy’s statement.

Didi told local media that being part of the coalition, JP would offer full support to the coalition government. He said Fahmy had made the statement of his own accord, and that the party had no knowledge of the matter.

However, Didi has said that the party has not yet decided if it would take action against Fahmy for speaking against the party’s stance.

During Wednesday’s parliament session, Fahmy also called for the resignation of the Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz and Minister of Home Affairs Dr Mohamed Jameel.

MDP Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik confirmed to Minivan News today that he supported Fahmy’s initiative to take the no-confidence vote.

“Since Alhan has taken the initiative, I will support him. I will do what needs to be done to bring the MDP Parliamentary Group on board,” Manik said.


MDP to take no confidence votes against Party President and Vice President as internal rift grows

The national council of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) will take no confidence votes against the party’s President Dr Ibrahim Didi and Vice President MP Alhan Fahmy, at the council’s 104th meeting scheduled for today.

The no-confidence motion is the second to be forwarded against the party’s leadership this month.

According to a statement from the party, the motion was put forward by the newly-elected Secretary General of the Party’s Parliamentary Group and International Spokesperson, Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, and was seconded by Mohamed ‘Ziyattey’ Ziyaadh, the former Executive Services Secretary of the President’s Office.

The MDP stated that the motion had been raised because both Didi and Fahmy had been making public statements contrary to a resolution passed on February 8, recognising that former President Mohamed Nasheed and his cabinet were ousted by illegitimate means through a coup d’état. The MDP  maintained that as the transfer of power was illegal, former President Nasheed and his cabinet should continue to sit in the National Council as senior members of government.

Facing pressure following its controversial ousting from power on February 7, the MDP’s founding leadership has come up against its ambitious new leadership, elected during the party’s internal elections in May 2011.

Ghafoor alleged that some senior figures were trying to bring about a coup within the party.

“I forwarded the resolution because [Alhan and Didi] have been making malicious statements intended to incite chaos and conflict among ordinary members of the party and the party activists. Making such statements at such a fragile time is damaging to the party,” Ghafoor told Minivan News.

A similar motion was forwarded earlier this month by the party’s Chair of Elections Committee and former head of National Social Protection Agency (NSPA), Ibrahim Waheed, calling for a “confidence assessment” of the party’s current senior leadership.

“I submitted the resolution in accordance with the MDP Constitution. The reason for the submission was that some of the party’s leaders have been issuing statements and interviews against the MDP’s Constitution, after the coup on February 7,” Waheed told Minivan News at the time.

However, the National Council at the last minute decided not to proceed with the vote.

Didi’s response

Speaking to Minivan News, MDP President Dr Ibrahim Didi stated that he did not believe such a motion could be taken. He questioned the authenticity of the scheduled National Council meeting, claiming that it was in conflict with previously set precedents.

“As a principle, the National Council is usually held in consultation with the party leadership. The reason for holding a council meeting and its agenda has to be discussed with the Party President or Vice President. Especially at such a fragile time, they did not do so,” he said.

Didi claimed said that the courts of the country had recognised him as the legitimate leader of the MDP and referred to a recent court case in which the MDP’s legal team sued the government for dismantling its protest camp at Raalhugandu in Male’.

Civil Court Judge Aisha Shujoon dismissed the case stating that it had been filed at the court by the Interim Chairperson of the party, MP Moosa Manik, who she contended did not have authority to sign on behalf of MDP according to the party’s constitution.

The case was subsequently resubmitted under Didi’s signature, and is proceeding.

“Even the courts have recognised the authority of the party leadership and I do not believe the National Council can vote me out because I am elected from a direct vote,” he said.

Didi also said that he would not participate in today’s scheduled meeting even though he was able to sit in the council as a member of former President Nasheed’s cabinet.

“I do not believe that the cabinet is legitimate because the party constitution states that the Party President has to form the party cabinet,” Didi added.

Ghafoor argued that he had proposed the motion in accordance to the party’s constitution, article 30 clause (f) which states that the National Council is able “to debate and assess the confidence of the President of the Party or the Vice President of the Party or the Chairperson or a Deputy Chairperson, if the members of the party submits a complaint disapproving their actions.”

Despite Didi’s claims, Minivan News observed that Didi was present and participated in the national council meeting held on February 8 in which the party passed a resolution recognising former President Nasheed and his cabinet.

Internal rifts

Following the controversial transfer of power on February 7, the pressures of sudden opposition have deepened existing internal rifts between senior figures of the party.

The MDP has already decided to take action against its MP, Shifaaq ‘Histo’ Mufeed, after he voted against party whip-line in the parliament session held to approve the new cabinet and vice-presidential nominee Waheed Deen.

The MDP had earlier decided to boycott the session arguing that the session was illegitimate, since the party did not recognise the legitimacy of the government of President Mohamed Waheed Hassan, and repeating the party’s allegations that Waheed came to power in a coup d’état. The party argued that the session could not be legal because it was held to approve a government that came to power by illegal means.

However, despite the party’s whip-line on its MPs to not to take part in the session, MP Mufeed participated in the session and voted in favor of approving both the cabinet of President Waheed and Vice Presidential appointee Waheed Deen.

President Waheed’s cabinet and the vice presidential appointee Waheed Deen were approved by the remainder of sitting MPs unanimously by 45 votes of the usually 77-strong chamber, including MP Mufeed’s vote.

MDP Parliamentary Group Leader, MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih told local media that the parliamentary group would take action against MPs who went against the party whip-line.

Speaking to Minivan News, Ghafoor said that action will be taken against Mufeed in accordance with rules set up to take action against those who break the party whip-line.

“I assure that the party’s parliamentary group (PG) will look into the matter and ensure that necessary action be taken against [Mufeed] in accordance with the party constitution, if he is found to have broken the party whip-line,” he said.

“Shifaaq [Mufeed] has been a subject of controversy, even before the February 7 coup. He has been repeatedly gone against the party line,” Ghafoor alleged.

“For instance, while we were in government, during the meetings of Social Services Committee of the Parliament where he and I both sit as MDP MPs, he had supported the centralising of Thalassaemia treatment while the party had earlier approved a bill decentralising it,” he added.

While Ghafoor did not reveal what kind of action the party would be taken against the MP representing mid-Fuvahmulah constituency, he stated that if Mufeed wanted to “switch parties” he should stop “acting like a child” and “be man enough to say that the party policies no longer appeal to him”.

However, Mufeed maintained that he did not intend to switch parties but he was trying to highlight the flaws within the party leadership, and was quoted in the local media as saying that the party’s leadership was “in a coma”.

Along with MP Mufeed, other senior party figures such as MP for Nolhivaram Constituency Mohamed ‘Colonel’ Nasheed along has become vocal in criticising the party leadership, stating that the party should let go of its “militant tactics”.

Spiritual leadership?

Along with Mufeed and others, party vice president Alhan Fahmy has implied that former President Nasheed was a “spiritual leader”, and that he would not support such a leader within the party.

However, Ghafoor told Minivan News that there was no way Nasheed could be labelled a “spiritual leader”, as the National Council of the party had agreed that he was brought down illegally and was technically still the elected president.

“I don’t believe that Nasheed is a spiritual leader. Structurally he still is the elected president, and the party has agreed that he was brought down by illegal means under a resolution passed on February 8. The party’s national council has agreed that he is still technically the elected president, through the people’s vote,” said Ghafoor.

Minivan News tried contacting MP Alhan Fahmy for his comments but he had not responded at the time of press.

The National Council was scheduled to meet today 4:00pm at Dharubaaruge. Minivan News understands the no confidence motion is to be opened for debate.