The newly sworn-in 19th Parliament on Tuesday night elected former president and Machangolhi Central MP Mohamed Nasheed, and Galolhu North MP Eva Abdulla as the new speaker and deputy speaker respectively.
Nasheed beat out his rival, Jumhooree Party (JP) leader and Maamigili MP Qasim Ibrahim who was the last speaker in the 18th parliament, with 67 votes in his favour while 17 lawmakers voted for Qasim. One vote was spoilt.
Nasheed was nominated for speaker by Hithadhoo North MP Mohamed Aslam of ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), who had previously campaigned for the position. His nomination was seconded by Central Henveiru MP Ali Azim of MDP.
Qasim's name was put forward by Mahibadhoo MP Ahmed Thoriq of opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), and seconded by independent member and Faresmaathodaa MP Hussain Mohamed Latheef.
Eva Abdulla's nomination was also put forward by Aslam and seconded by Azim. The only candidate for deputy speaker, Eva was elected with 76 votes in her favour while six members voted against.
The parliament had formed a five-member committee to oversee the secret vote to elect the new speaker and deputy speaker. The five members were nominated by Alifushi MP Ahmed Rasheed Hussain, and seconded by Maradhoo MP Ibrahim Shareef.
The committee was comprised of Thulhadhoo MP Hisaan Hussain of MDP, Isdhoo MP Ali Hameed of JP, Naifaru MP Ahmed Shiyam of PPM, Maavah MP Mohamed Saeed of People's National Congress (PNC), and independent Villingili MP Saud Hussain.
The first session of the 19th parliament to elect the new speaker and deputy speaker was chaired by Meedhoo MP Ahmed Siyam Mohamed, the longest consecutive-serving member of the parliament as per the Constitution. He did not participate in the vote, in accordance with parliamentary regulations.
MDP approved the candidacies of Nasheed and Eva for the positions of speaker and deputy speaker during the party's parliamentary group meeting on Monday night. Nasheed's nomination was a last-minute decision, supported by Aslam and Hussain Afeef who were previously campaigning for speaker. Although Nasheed did not campaign for the post and initially refused the nomination, he ultimately acquiesced.