Parliament speaker and former president Mohamed Nasheed has said that the situation of the Maldives can only be changed by changing the system of government so that the person in power cannot do anything besides good.
In an exclusive interview given to "Mihaaru News" last week, Nasheed said that even though the people want the best and most sincere person to be the nation's ruler, this kind of person can never be found. He said the people should instead choose a system where the worst of people cannot do anything besides good.
"It is the people who continue to work with the objective of maintaining dictatorial rule that influence and advocate for a presidential system. That talk is about dictatorial rule," said speaker Nasheed.
Nasheed said that a rule of the people can only be implemented by maintaining the power to rule within the parliament. He said that this can be done by changing the system to have ministers and shadow ministers within the parliament and ensuring that the affairs of the government are closely monitored at all times.
According to Nasheed, if the people are not happy with a parliament member or a minister, a recall vote can be initiated. In this scenario, the concerned member would need to secure more than 50 percent of the votes in another election.
- The Prime Minister is Head of Government
- The President is Head of State
- A recall vote to be taken if people are not satisfied with their parliament member
- Parliament members will lose their seat if they change their party
- A change in the composition of the parliament
Nasheed said that in a presidential system, the people's input comes at a very late stage. He suggested that this issue could be addressed by transitioning to a parliamentary system.
Nasheed said that some countries reform their systems to improve the situation of the people, and a positive change in the lives of the people is not realized because of issues with the system.
Nasheed said while tax income did not reach MVR 7 billion previously, tax income currently reaches MVR 30 billion, and pointed out that household income has not reflected this increase.
"The Presidential system is not a democratic system. It is similar to having a King or Sultan who is to be highly praised, and then working towards expanding his power and honor." said Nasheed.
"The truth is there really is no democratic system called the presidential system".
Nasheed said that historically, the Maldives never had a presidential system. He pointed out that even though President Mohamed Ameen introduced a Republic, this was lost within 9 months and Ibrahim Nasir and later Ahmed Zaki became Prime Ministers.
"Next came the long 30 year rule of former president Maumoon. So the natural inclination of Maldivians is to have a Prime Minister as their leader," said Nasheed.
Nasheed said that his talk about the system is not aimed at maintaining the current situation of the parliament. Highlighting that ministers will be selected after a vote in a parliamentary system, Nasheed said that there are people currently in parliament who can perform the duties of a minister well.
Nasheed highlighted that currently when a citizen has a request, they have to approach their parliament member. The member then communicates the concern to the minister. Nasheed further elaborated, stating that even if the issue is as basic as changing a pipe in the sewerage system of an island, the member takes it to the minister, who may lack interest in resolving the matter.
"The minister's role is to please the president. In this situation, the parliament member is compelled to comply with the minister, striving to keep the minister happy. In contrast, we advocate that the parliament member should truly represent the people. Whatever they need can be addressed in their office directly. They will be in charge, eliminating unnecessary bureaucratic layers or stages," said Nasheed.
"I think the people of Maldives are clear that this is the system we want to bring. I see that 2007 was also a win for the parliamentary system," said Nasheed.
When told that the results favored a presidential system, Nasheed contended that this outcome was due to deception during the vote. He highlighted discrepancies between the actual number of people who voted and the tally of eligible voters. Nasheed said that some islands had more votes than the number of eligible voters, indicating irregularities in the electoral process.
"Think about it - in an election, the maximum voter turn out is about 80 percent. These type of issues were there with the system. Also, if you look at the papers developed to create awareness about the system at the time, it was biased against the parliamentary system," said Nasheed.
Nasheed said the parliament at the time supported bringing a Prime Minister, believing that it was one way to bring an end to the 30 year rule of Maumoon.
Nasheed said it would be very good for the Maldives if a parliamentary system is established in the country. He said he would be involved to a great extent to begin such a system and do all he can to establish the system.
"Nothing can be created by a single person. I do not intend to remain as a leader of a political party as you indicated," Nasheed said.