President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Wednesday, declared that he was willing to seek a legal course of action to restructure the end of his term and beginning of next presidential term, delayed due to the hold up caused in the 2013 elections.
Speaking on Raajje TV’s “Fashaairu” programme on the occasion of Republic Day, on which newly elected Presidents were sworn into office prior to 2013, President Solih expressed his belief that the presidential term should begin on Republic Day.
Since the year 1968 and the beginning of a second republic, it has been a long-lived culture in the Maldives for all presidents to take the oath of office on the occasion of the Republic Day, celebrated on November 11.
However, due to the delays in announcing a president-elect in 2013 with Supreme Court rejecting the results of the first round of elections, former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom was unable to take his oath of office on November 11. Since then, the tenure of presidency has been counted from November 17 onwards, when Yameen’s presidency was inaugurated.
Although this was the case, President Solih stated that he believed November 11 was the day for counting the beginning of the presidential term, as he had discussed during his campaigns prior to the 2018 election.
Noting that there were obstacles in formalising this belief, President Solih vowed to find a legal recourse to the matter, adding that he will launch efforts before his presidential term concludes in 2023.
Amidst heated debate over the date of the presidential inauguration in 2018, Solih had stated that he did not wish to take his oath of office on November 11, out of consideration for national interests.
Shortly after, the parliament had unanimously passed to set the date of presidential inauguration as November 17, with the Elections Commission upholding the decision.
Although there were no legal barriers to hold the inauguration on November 11, the then-ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) maintained the argument that President Yameen has the right to complete his five-year term until November 17.
However, the delays in the 2013 presidential election were responsible for causing the postponement of the presidential inauguration. This resulted in former president Mohamed Waheed Hassan having held his post in office for an additional period of six days, a clearly unconstitutional extension period, granted at the end of his official presidency term.