Vilufushi MP Hassan Afeef, who has been chairing parliament sittings in the absence of the Speaker or Deputy Speaker, is deemed to be no longer eligible for the role.
The MP has been chairing the sittings of the 19th session of the parliament when neither the former Speaker Mohamed Nasheed nor Deputy Speaker Eva Abdulla could attend the sittings.
Generally, the MP has been chairing the morning session sittings. He had also been the longest-serving MP according to the parliament secretariat's website previously.
Parliament regulation's Article 44 state that one out of the five longest-serving MPs would chair the sittings when both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are unable to preside as the chair.
Article 44(c) further stipulates that the period of the longest-serving MPs should be counted based on the longest consecutive period; meaning any MPs who have not served in the parliament amid their parliamentary career, will have the said period omitted when counting the duration of their service.
While Afeef was first elected to the parliament in 1990, he was not elected in 2009 for the 17th session of the parliament and again in 2014 for the 18th parliamentary session; meaning there was a period of interruption to his tenure at the parliament.
However, this issue was not accentuated earlier when the names of the five longest-serving MPs were ranked on the parliament secretariat's website, while Nasheed's announcement of the members earlier had been approved by the MPs as well.
Afeef's sudden ineligibility to chair the parliament sittings have come amid Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), accusing him of purposefully interrupting the parliament's flow. The Vilufushi MP had recently joined The Democrats, which was founded by the former Speaker Mohamed Nasheed.
1. Meedhoo MP Ahmed Siyam Mohamed - 18 years and 8 months of consecutive service
2. Maamigili MP Qasim Ibrahim - 14 years and five months of consecutive service
3. Eydhafushi MP Ahmed Saleem - 14 years and five months of consecutive service
4. Hanimaddhoo MP Abdul Ghafoor Moosa - 14 years and five months of consecutive service
5. Kudahuvadhoo MP Ahmed Amir - 14 years and five months of consecutive service