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Parliament defends "delay" in notice for extraordinary sitting

Malika Shahid
05 July 2023, MVT 13:46
Malika Shahid
05 July 2023, MVT 13:46

The Parliament Secretariat has denied allegations that the notice of the extraordinary sitting of the Parliament was sent to the members of parliament at a late stage, deliberately causing difficulties for the majority members from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) to attend the session.

According to the Parliament Secretariat, Members of Parliament were duly informed about the scheduling of the extraordinary sitting by Speaker Mohamed Nasheed on Monday as proposed by the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), which holds the majority in parliament.

MDP Parliamentary Group Leader and Hithadhoo North MP Mohamed Aslam alleged that the Parliament Secretariat acted with the intention of depriving the party of its majority in parliament.

"We have noticed that he suddenly called for a sitting within a very short notice, expecting very few MDP members to attend. However, when he saw that the situation was different and more MDP members were in attendance, he did not proceed with the session," MP Aslam said.

In response to the allegations, Communication Director of the Parliament Hassan Ziyaau said that the Speaker determines the scheduling and agenda in compliance with the parliament regulations.

"As soon as he set the agenda and informed us [the secretariat], we immediately informed the members that the sitting was going to be held," he said.

At the request of the MDP's parliamentary group, an out-of-session sitting was scheduled with the agenda focused on reconstituting the standing committees of the parliament.

However, as soon as the session began, Villufushi MP Hassan Afeef, who chaired the sitting, brought to attention that Speaker Nasheed and Hithadhoo Central MP Ahmed Rasheed had resigned from the MDP on June 21. MP Afeef concluded the sitting within five minutes, stating that the current proposal to reconstitute the standing committees should be revised since the number of MPs representing the parties in parliament had changed.

Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed -- Photo: Parliament Secretariat

MDP has expressed concern over MP Afeef's behavior and actions during the sitting. The MDP's proposal for the extraordinary sitting included not only the formation of committees but also decisions on important matters such as the no-confidence motion against Speaker Nasheed and Deputy Speaker Eva Abdulla, as well as amendments to the parliament procedures.

MDP has also raised concerns about the agenda of the session held on Monday, stating that only the formation of committees was included and no other matters were addressed.

When questioned about the pending work in the parliament, the response given was reportedly the same.

"The agenda of the sitting will be determined by the Speaker, as stipulated in the parliament regulations," he said.

The MDP has requested additional extraordinary sittings, but no further meetings have been scheduled following Monday's session.

It has been reported that the changes in the standing committees of the parliament have been shared with the members, who have been given three days to submit their views. Therefore, another extraordinary session is expected to be scheduled for next week.