People's National Congress (PNC), on Wednesday, announced its endorsement of former Home Minister Hassan Afeef for the position of Parliament Speaker.
Speaking at a news conference held by PNC and its coalition partner, the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), PNC vice president Ahmed Nihan attributed the party's decision to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's declaration of support for Afeef.
Following a Tharavees gathering (dinners held during Ramadan, shortly after Taraweeh prayers) for outgoing parliament members as well as the parliamentarians who will be sworn in on May 28, President Solih complimented Afeef and stated that he was suited to serve as Parliament Speaker.
Nihan stated that the opposition coalition agreed with the President on the matter and that it was prepared to cooperate closely with the government.
PPM Vice President and Naifaru MP Ahmed Shiyam stated that it would hold a debate regarding their endorsement as Parliament Speaker. However, he assured that PPM would align with PNC while the two parties are working together.
Nihan stated that it was not the coalition's policy to solve issues by inciting unrest in the streets, adding that however, the coalition would not hesitate to take action if the situation necessitated involvement.
In addition to Afeef, Hithadhoo North MP Mohamed Aslam, Henveiru Central MP Ali Azim, Maradhoo MP Ibrahim Shareef and Meedhoo MP Rozaina Adam have also announced their interest in becoming the Parliament Speaker
The competition between Afeef and Aslam grew further intense following former president and parliamentarian elect for Machangoalhi Central constituency‘s endorsement for the latter
The Parliament Speaker and Deputy Parliament Speaker will be chosen on May 29.
The MDP parliamentary group confirmed the decision to hold a vote prior to the date, finalising their endorsements.
MDP earned a parliamentary majority of 65 out of 87 in the last parliamentary election, which constitutes the greatest majority a single party has ever attained. There are eight members belonging to the coalition of PNC and PPM in the newly elected parliament.