The Edition
facebook icon twitter icon instagram icon linkedin icon


20th Parliament of Maldives – A different scene

“Maldivians are a powerful people. They will always vote right,” PNC MP Musthafa said.

Mariyath Mohamed
26 May 2024, MVT 12:56
Mariyath Mohamed
26 May 2024, MVT 12:56

Ninety three Members of Parliament of the 20th People’s Majlis are due to take oath of office next Tuesday, the 28th of May.

This parliamentary term is commencing with a super majority for the ruling People’s National Congress, and an underwhelming twelve seats for the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party.

The composition of the 20th People’s Majlis

People’s National Congress (PNC) – 75 members

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) – 12 members

Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) – 2 members

Jumhooree Party (JP) – 1 member

Maldives National Party (MNP) – 1 member

Independent – 2 members

During April’s Parliamentary Election, PNC alone secured 66 seats. Since then, in the interim period between elections and the start of the new parliamentary term, nine candidates who got elected as independents have signed up to join the ruling party.

Counting in affiliated parties, the ruling party’s supermajority in parliament is 79 seats strong.

Elections for the previous parliamentary term, held in 2019, saw MDP – then the ruling party - win a majority in parliament with 65 seats out of a total of 87 seats. This year, despite contesting for 89 seats, the party saw victory only in a mere 12 constituencies. Breakaway party from MDP, The Democrats, contested in 39 constituencies, but failed to win a single seat. Adhaalath Party, too, came out of the election with zero wins.

PNC – Voice of the People, Choice of the People

The ruling party, led by President Dr Mohamed Muizzu, is inarguably the currently overarching choice of the Maldivian people, judging by its landslide victory in the Parliamentary Election.

In the run up to the elections, President Muizzu personally travelled around the country, meeting the people and their representatives in the councils. He learned about their aspirations, and pledged to realize those, and highlighted that this would be made easier if the parliament could be compiled of members who would offer support and cooperation for his administration’s initiatives.

The people heard, the people listened, and the people voted.

As a result, the elected MPs from PNC are now tasked with diligently and loyally representing the majority of the people’s voice in the 20th Parliament.

The Edition reached out to PNC MP Elect Musthafa Hussain of South Mahchangolhi Constituency and asked him what he believed was the reason behind PNC’s immense election victory.

“Maldivians are a powerful people. They will always vote right,” Musthafa said.

He said that voting is a right exercised by the mass population, and that the overarching decision of the majority cannot be wrong.

“It’s because they have hope, they have trust in us, that they have voted this way. They have voted for people who they believe can make a difference, and my hope is success in this endeavour.”

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Elect for North Galolhu constituency Mohamed Ibrahim shared his thoughts on the party’s surprisingly low level of success.

“If MDP has good candidates who are backed with strong teams working with them in future, then we can get better results than this,” Ibrahim said.

What does this mean for Separation of Powers?

MP Ibrahim states that this is the decision of the majority and should not be up for debate.

“This is what the people wanted. This is how the people voted. There is no room or reason to criticize this anymore. What is left is for the Opposition to work as it must, to work to hold the Executive accountable, even if we have just a couple of members in parliament,” Ibrahim said.

MP Mustafa shared his opinion as well.

“Anyone who claims separation of powers would be a liar at this point. I mean, the people gave an astounding super majority to the ruling party, so the Parliament will obviously work along the President’s policies. The JSC (Judicial Service Commission)’s members are also appointed by this parliament,” he said.

“What I am saying is, it’s not literal separation of powers that is important. What is important is to bring reforms and to make things right. To ensure accountability,” he explained.

How will the 20th Parliament be different?

“We are set to see a very energetic term with a lot of youthful MPs this time around,” Musthafa said.

He is confident that the new batch of parliamentarians will prove to be an industrious team that will take the initiative to bring about the changes that people want.

“This Parliament will provide absolute support to implement the President’s policies,” he said.

Another thing he feels will be different about the 20th Parliament from those that came before is the low tendency for fights and altercations.

“There won’t be all that fighting in parliament. We can proceed with our work without much obstruction. This here is the change that we all wanted,” Musthafa asserted.

While there are many socio-economic issues that Musthafa feels needs to be tackled by the incoming parliament, some of the major issues that he highlighted are the issues of housing difficulties, illegal immigrants, and the lack of employment opportunities for young persons in the country.

MDP’s Ibrahim spoke about the heavy workload that awaits the 20th Parliament.

“I am going into Parliament to do everything I can, and to urge others to do the same. We will focus on promoting accountability,” he said.

“I believe we should try to work together hand in hand. If they [the ruling party] do something good, then I will wholeheartedly support that,” he stated.

In addition to this, Ibrahim had some ideas on how to increase public trust in the institution.

First, he addressed the volatile subject of MP’s privileges.

“Parliament needs to make public aware of these ‘privileges’. Everything needs to be set out in detail. This will lessen people’s dissatisfaction with MPs,” he opined.

More importantly, Ibrahim feels there should be an official mechanism through which the public can follow the parliament’s performance in a timely manner.

“What MPs do, bills they present, debates, attendance, committee work… all this should be pro-actively shared, perhaps on the Majlis website, instead of relying on various media to present these details as and when they will,” he said.

“This will allow less room for confusion and encourage more trust, as well as increase efficiency on our part.”

Last week, President Dr Mohamed Muizzu has nominated, and the MPs of PNC have backed, MP Elect for Fonadhoo constituency Abdul Raheem Abdulla for the post of Parliament Speaker and MP Elect for Dhiggaru Constituency Ahmed Nazim for the post of Deputy Speaker.

Both Abdul Raheem and Nazim have said in recent interviews that the 20th Parliament will prove to be different from all those that came before, and will demonstrate exemplary performance.

Share this story