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Parliament to hold special sitting including 12 reinstated MPs

Farah Ahmed
18 February 2018, MVT 15:27
Lawmakers take roll-call vote amidst the chaos of the second motion of no confidence sought against Parliament Speaker Abdulla Maseeh. FILE PHOTO
Farah Ahmed
18 February 2018, MVT 15:27

The parliament will convene Monday for a special sitting, the parliament secretariat announced Sunday.

While the parliament sessions for this year has not officially begun, the special sitting is to commence at 9:00 a.m Monday.

The reason for the sitting was not stated; the parliament secretariat, on its official website, notified that the sitting has been scheduled and that all the lawmakers have been informed of the sitting.

The recently reinstated 12 parliamentarians were also notified of the sitting. Thulusdhoo MP Mohamed Waheed Ibrahim, who was unseated last July for floor-crossing, confirmed that these members were officially informed by the parliament secretariat. They had been barred from the parliament for over six months.

The opposition parliamentarians speculate that the sitting is being held in relation to the state of emergency – which is still in effect – and the political turmoil brewing in the country after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on February 1, which reinstated the expelled MPs and annulled its previous ruling on floor-crossing, and ordered the release of nine high-profile political prisoners.

According to the Constitution, the declaration of a state of emergency has to be submitted to the parliament within 48 hours. If the parliament is not in session at the time of the declaration, it has to be re-called within 14 days, inclusive of holidays, and the declaration of a state of emergency submitted to the parliament for approval.

As per the law, the state of emergency will expire Tuesday.

The parliament was to hold the first sitting of the first term for this year on February 5 at Dharubaaruge convention centre in the capital Male, as opposed to the official house of parliament. During the first sitting of the parliament, the presidential address is delivered.

However, the sitting was cancelled after President Abdulla Yameen had declared the state of emergency and subsequently arrested two Supreme Court justices, the Judicial Administrator and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and his son-in-law on February 5.

Hours after the top court judges were arrested, the remaining judges had revoked the court’s earlier ruling to release the political prisoners.

Meanwhile, three parliamentarians are still in prison, including Dhiggaru MP Faris Maumoon, Machangolhi South MP Abdullah Sinan and Dhangethi MP Ilham Ahmed.

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