MP Riyaz Rasheed splashed water on chairs: Speaker Abdulla Shahid

Vilufushi MP Riyaz Rasheed splashed water on chairs and tables inside the parliament chamber yesterday after Speaker Abdulla Shahid ordered Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) security personnel to remove the disruptive MP.

Yesterday’s sitting was adjourned 15 minutes after it began when MP Riyaz Rasheed raised points of order to object to changes made to the Security Services ‘241’ committee.

The reworked composition of the committee with the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party’s (DRP) representation down from three seats to two after a number of MPs left the party was later approved in a vote yesterday.

After advising Riyaz to sit down four times, the Speaker adjourned the sitting until the MP was out the chamber. The Vilufushi MP left the chamber about 30 minutes later when MNDF officers were sent in.

When the sitting resumed after 12pm, Speaker Shahid explained that cleaning chairs and tables where MP Riyaz splashed water had delayed the restart. Further delays were caused by electricity problems caused by heavy rains the previous night, Shahid said.


Parliament deadlock continues

Parliament remains deadlocked as the dispute over the composition of committees continues to disrupt proceedings, forcing Speaker Abdulla Shahid to cancel a third consecutive sitting in the face of vociferous protests by MPs of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

The Speaker adjourned today’s sitting five minutes after it began when MDP MPs loudly objected to his decision to overrule a point of order raised by MP Ahmed Sameer, who argued that the issue of parliamentary committees should not have been tabled in today’s agenda.

While Shahid said that parliament would reconvene later in the day, the sitting was eventually cancelled shortly after 3pm to allow the parties to reach a compromise.

MP Ibrahim ‘Ibu’ Mohamed Solih, parliamentary group (PG) leader of the MDP, had told Minivan News yesterday that the party would object to the agenda item.

Ibu Solih argued that the rules of procedure clearly specified that the composition of committees should reflect the number of MPs each party had in parliament.

“The rules clearly state that MDP should get five seats, and if DRP forms a coalition with the Jumhooree Party, they should get five seats, too,” he explained. “There is no need to take a vote on something that is determined in the rules.”

At an impromptu meeting last night, the main opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party’s (DRP) council approved plans to enter into a formal coalition with the Jumhooree Party, which if signed would bring the allied opposition parties’ representation in line with the MDP at 34 MPs each.

According to parliamentary rules on proportional representation in committees, both sides would be entitled to five seats out of the 11 in each of the 12 parliamentary committees. However this leaves the 11th seat to be filled by one of the remaining eight Independents.

With the ruling and opposition parties evenly matched with five seats each, the support of an Independent MP would be needed to decide which side held a controlling majority on each committee.

Raising his point of order today, MDP MP Sameer said that the rules of procedure dictate the Speaker should decide, through consultation, which Independent MP would sit on which committee.

The dispute is set to continue when parliament resumes tomorrow.