The presidential system of government in the Maldives is unstable and will result in more coup d’états, former President and opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed has said.
“The presidential system in the Maldives has not brought about a secure government. There is no doubt of coups in the Maldives. President [Abdulla] Yameen’s administration will fall in a coup. It will be overthrown,” he told Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) supporters at a rally in Malé on Sunday.
Nasheed, the first democratically elected leader in the Maldives, claims he was ousted in a coup just three years into his term in February 2012.
However, a Commonwealth backed Commission of National Inquiry (CONI) called the transfer of power “legal and constitutional.”
Nasheed said he was not suggesting the MDP would carry out the coup, but that those in power should not rule out a coup given the legitimisation of the February 2012 change of power and the Supreme Court’s silence on the matter.
“I am not by any means suggesting we will carry out a coup. The legitimate means of changing regimes has been demonstrated in 2012. The Supreme Court has demonstrated how to interpret the constitution. With that legitimacy, both ourselves and those in power, we should not rule out the possibility that another group may overthrow the government,” he said.
Yameen’s Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) came to power with the backing of third placed candidate Gasim Ibrahim in November’s presidential polls.
Gasim had won 23.35 percent of the vote in the first round of presidential polls last year, and his eventual backing was crucial for the PPM’s win in the second round.
The PPM had gained 29.72 percent of the vote in the first round and narrowly won the election against Nasheed with 51.39 percent.
Gasim’s Jumhooree Party (JP) support was contingent on a 35 percent stake in government and a pledge to jointly contest March parliamentary polls.
The coalition fell apart in a dispute over which party should control the Majlis speaker position. Gasim narrowly lost the vote to PPM’s Abdulla Maseeh.
Nasheed himself required the backing of the JP and a number of smaller parties to win the presidential election of 2008. The coalition led by Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) also fell apart shortly after Nasheed assumed power.
Speaking to private broadcaster Raajje TV in May, Nasheed said he would work through the new parliament to amend the constitution and facilitate a transition to a parliamentary system.
“It is time for the system of governance in Maldives to be changed into a parliamentary system. When we move to a parliamentary system there won’t be any need to have a cabinet,” said Nasheed.
“The cabinet is very costly, we can cut down that as well [by moving to a parliamentary system]. What I want to say to President Maumoon is to think about how the Maldives has been governed in the past and what happened during the drafting of the constitution,” he was quoted as saying.
Speaking to Minivan News in February, Nasheed said: “Coalitions work in parliamentary systems where you can actually have ministers coming out from the parliament and therefore it’s possible to come to an arrangement. But when the cabinet is not in the parliament, an alliance doesn’t necessarily work.”
“The shuffling or the portions given to different parties are given from the cabinet, and the cabinet is a very superficial layer on the government. The actual essence is the parliament where you make the laws.”
Nasheed had raised the same issue during his presidency in July 2010 in response to difficulties in governance. At the time, Nasheed’s MDP controlled a minority in parliament while the then-opposition opposed and blocked several flagship laws.