Indian Prime Minister to be invited to address parliament

Parliament today unanimously approved a proposal to invite Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to address parliament during a maiden visit to the Maldives.

The proposal was put to a vote after an amendment to the rules of procedure was passed yesterday to allow foreign heads of state or heads of government to deliver speeches before parliament.

“The fact that [the invitation proposal] was passed with unanimous consent of all MPs who participated in the vote has shown our Majlis’ sincerity and desire to invite and welcome Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh,” said Speaker Abdulla Shahid after the vote.

Shahid said he would work with parliamentary group leaders to “offer a warm welcome” to the Indian Prime Minister and sent the official invitation to the Indian government today.

During the debate on the proposal, MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, parliamentary group leader of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), said he was pleased that the Indian Prime Minister would become the first foreign head of state to address the Maldivian parliament.

MP Dr Abdulla Mausoom, deputy parliamentary group leader of the opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP), said Dr Manmohan Singh’s address would benefit the fledgling democracy in the Maldives.

MP Abdulla Yameen, parliamentary group leader of the newly-formed Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), observed that Dr Singh was an economist by profession and “what the Maldives needs the most today is to strengthen our democracy and economy.”

“I am sure he will highlight these two areas in his address,” Yameen said.

Meanwhile at today’s sitting, MPs voted 52-8 to approve the signing of a treaty between the Maldives and India on mutual legal assistance on criminal matters.