The Edition


Govt insists parliament speaker vote “was fair and independent”

Fathmath Shaahunaz
29 March 2017, MVT 11:47
Opposition lawmakers protest during the parliament debate on the motion of no confidence against the speaker. PHOTO/SOCIAL MEDIAopp
Fathmath Shaahunaz
29 March 2017, MVT 11:47

The Maldives government insisted late Tuesday that the parliament vote on the motion of no confidence against parliamentary speaker Abdulla Maseeh was fair and independent.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement refuting the objections raised by the opposition and the United States, who have voiced concerns that the vote taken during Monday’s session violated parliament policies and fair voting. The ministry asserted that the vote was transparent and within the framework of democracy, parliament regulations and the Constitution.

Stating that the parliament has upheld the principles of democracy since its founding in 1932, the ministry urged the Maldives’ foreign allies and institutions to respect the decisions of the parliament. The statement also assured that the government will continue to uphold the rule of democracy and recognize the decisions of independent institutions.

The motion of no confidence against Speaker Maseeh was put to vote via a roll call instead of electronic voting due to alleged defects in the electronic voting portals. The opposition had objected to the roll call vote saying that it violates parliamentary regulations. Following the opposition’s protests and discord on the parliament floor, 13 opposition lawmakers were forcibly removed from the chamber by military security, which prompted the remaining 21 opposition members to boycott the vote.

Hence, the vote on the motion of no confidence against the speaker was cast only among government lawmakers via roll call. Speaker Maseeh was voted in favour of holding his post with 48 votes.

In the wake of the vote, the US Embassy to Sri Lanka and Maldives released a statement saying that the voting procedures of the no confidence motion obstruct fair and independent votes. The embassy called on the government of the Maldives to maintain democratic policies by ensuring unbiased and independent proceedings in parliament and other elections.