The National Council of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has decided not to support the parliamentary system of governance if a public referendum is held with regard to changing the current system of government in the Maldives.
This decision was made during a meeting of the MDP national council held last night. The aim of the meeting was to make a decision about the resolution of the parliament sent to the Elections Commission (EC) requesting that a public referendum be held before the end of October with regard to changing the current system of government. All members who spoke at the meeting expressed their sentiments against former president Mohamed Nasheed and The Democrats rather than focusing on the system of government.
Members passionately voiced their sentiments against the parliamentary system of government. Many of them emphasized their opposition to the system because Nasheed, who supports it, had been detrimental to the presidential campaign of the MDP candidate, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
In this regard, deputy chairperson of the MDP Ibrahim Waheed said that Nasheed and The Democrats continuously campaigned for an option "Other than Ibu" during the presidential campaign.
Waheed said, "Today we want something other than parliamentary." He noted that it would be much better to prepare for the parliament elections scheduled for next year instead of wasting time holding a referendum about the system of government.
Others who spoke after Waheed supported his sentiments. They reiterated their advocacy for "other than Parliamentary" and emphasized the desire for an option "Other than Nasheed" as well.
MDP president for Maduvvari constituency Moosa Ali Manik said that the greatest suffering on the party during the presidential elections was inflicted by The Democrats, and highlighted that serious accusations about corruption and theft were aimed at the government by The Democrats. He also criticized Nasheed's request to rejoin MDP after the efforts to ensure the party's defeat during the election. Moosa said that MDP should do all it could to ensure an option "Other than parliamentary."
Some members of the national council argued that a public referendum would waste millions of Rufiyaa from the budget. They called for nullifying the current resolution passed by the parliament and submitting and passing another resolution. However, others suggested that the public referendum be held as scheduled "to show The Democrats their size."
Speaking during the meeting, foreign minister Abdulla Shahid emphasized that MDP had always been a responsible opposition party. He said that preventing an elected opposition candidate from ruling simply because of their own defeat would contradict the beliefs of MDP.
Housing minister Mohamed Aslam emphasized that following the majority is a fundamental aspect of democracy. Therefore, he cannot support challenging a decision already made by the people in order to seek power through a different avenue.
Chairperson of the MDP and current minister for economic development Fayyaz Ismail who was chairing the meeting siad that the sentiments of the national council were very clear. He proposed a resolution on behalf of the secretariat.
The resolution said that the MDP would not support the parliamentary system if a public referendum about changing the system of government is held.
The resolution was unanimously passed by all 90 members of the council present at the meeting.
Initially, EC suggested October 29 as a potential date for the referendum. However, EC later sent a letter to the parliament, stating that the questions to be asked in the referendum were not clear. The letter also requested additional time to make necessary arrangements, including creating awareness among the people, formulating necessary regulations, and securing the required budget.
The letter sent to the parliament by the EC read "... in consideration of all these matters we will inform the parliament of the earliest date that a referendum can be held."
The letter was discussed in yesterday's sitting of the parliament and members of parliament representing The Democrats who submitted the resolution also agreed that more time is required before holding such a referendum.