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Parliament again seeks no-confidence vote against speaker

Fathmath Shaahunaz
08 March 2017, MVT 14:45
MP Faris speaks to reporters after submitting a motion of no confidence against parliament speaker Abdulla Maseeh. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
08 March 2017, MVT 14:45

A motion of no confidence against parliament speaker Abdulla Maseeh was submitted to the parliament on Wednesday with the signatures of 26 lawmakers.

A majority of votes in favour by the members present on that day’s sitting is required to pass a motion of no confidence against the speaker. Should the motion be passed on the parliament floor, Speaker Maseeh will be mandated to resign his post.

The motion was spearheaded by the son of Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and lawmaker of Dhiggaru constituency, Faris Maumoon. Mihaaru understands that MP Faris was also the first to sign the petition.

According to sources, it was Former President Maumoon’s faction of the divided ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) that first suggested to seek a no confidence motion against the speaker.

Opposition lawmakers outside the People's Majlis after submitting a motion of no confidence against parliament speaker Abdulla Maseeh. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

In addition to Faris, main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s parliamentary group leader and Hinnavaru MP Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Jumhoory Party member and Kendhoo MP Ali Hussain, Maldives Development Alliance (MDA) member and Nolhivaran MP Hussain Areef and PPM member and Thulusdhoo MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim were also leaders of this move.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, MP Faris stated that they called for a motion of no confidence against Speaker Masheeh with the support and agreement of all political parties.

He declared that Maseeh is slowing down parliamentary proceedings, bringing to a halt the passing of laws necessary for the people, and thereby hindering lawmakers’ attempts at holding the government accountable.

MP Faris further accused Maseeh of not allowing certain parliamentarians to speak during debates out of “political motives”, noting that while some members are granted insufficient speaking time, some bills and amendments are either passed or rejected carelessly in haste.

“Despite numerous complaints about the lack of adequate time to work on major issues, we’ve never received a solution,” said Faris, declaring that Maseeh is thus unsuitable for the post of speaker.

In response to the likelihood that the motion of no confidence would be passed, MP Faris expressed optimism for success, stating that the majority of the opposition are of the same opinion regarding Maseeh’s case.

MDP’s parliamentary group leader MP Solih seconded Faris’ statements and assured that the motion of no confidence was submitted according to constitutional and parliamentary regulations.

Citing the Constitution that all aspects of the parliament must follow democratic policies and transparency, MP Solih said that several of the major challenges facing the Maldives stemmed from within the parliament. However, he declared that all of them will work together to ensure a solution.

PPM PG leader Ahmed Nihan (L) speaks with parliament speaker Abdulla Maseeh. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO

Meanwhile, PPM parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nihan had earlier vowed that the faction of the ruling party that supports President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom will fail the no confidence vote.

Lawmakers had previously sought a motion of no confidence against the speaker last year March with a petition of 22 signatures that was ultimately withdrawn without debate.

According to the Constitution, signatures of minimum 15 members with reason must be submitted in writing to the parliament to call for a vote of no confidence against its speaker. The members must be notified within three days of submitting.

The Constitution further states that the parliament must be informed 14 days prior to submitting a resolution seeking to remove the speaker. Furthermore, the speaker may not chair the sitting of the subsequent debate nor participate in the voting. The debate is to be chaired by the deputy speaker, while the speaker may participate in the debate in their own defence.

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