Parliament on Tuesday approved changes to the house rules that would allow sittings to proceed even if the quorum of 20 MPs is lost.
Under the rules of procedure prior to the amendment passed yesterday (December 25), sittings must be immediately adjourned if the number of MPs in the chamber falls below 20, which is 25 percent of the 77 MPs in parliament.
The change was voted through with 69 MPs voting in favour, four MPs voting against and one abstaining.
A number of sittings of the People’s Majlis have been forced to a close due to loss of quorum. The amendment to the rules was reportedly proposed to address the recurring issue of loss of quorum.
Under the amended rules, the Speaker would be allowed to continue proceedings until a MP brings the loss of quorum to his or her attention.
However, a minimum of 20 MPs would still have to be in attendance to begin sittings while more than 39 MPs must be present for a vote to be called.
A second amendment to the rules of procedure was meanwhile passed 44-28 yesterday with two abstentions to allow sittings to be held during recess upon request by 26 MPs.
The amendment was proposed in a report by the General Affairs Committee.
MPs of the government-aligned Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) voted against the report. While PPM MPs voted for a proposal by MP Ibrahim Muttalib stating that no-confidence motions could not be voted on during sittings held in recess, the amendment was defeated 43-27 with four abstentions.
Under the approved changes to the house rules, a request by one-third of parliament or 26 MPs to hold a sitting during recess must be accommodated within 14 days including weekends and public holidays.