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Ruling party files to nullify Anti-Defection Bill

Shaina Abdulla
25 October 2018, MVT 13:19
Parliament of the Maldives, People's Majlis
Shaina Abdulla
25 October 2018, MVT 13:19

Ruling party, on Wednesday, filed a motion to nullify the Anti-Defection Act.

The motion was filed to the parliament by ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)'s MP of Vilufushi constituency, Riyaz Rasheed.

Whilst MP Riyaz has filed the motion to null the Anti-Defection Bill, there has been conflict between the MP and President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and his leadership. MP Riyaz were also among the 51 signatories to file the no confidence motion against parliamentary speaker Abdulla Maseeh.

Riyaz stated the reason for nullification of the Anti-Defection Bill as the bill being obstructive for lawmakers to work in accordance with Article 75 and 90 of the Constitution as well as to uphold their responsibilities.

The Anti-Defection Bill had been passed with 36 votes in favour from pro-government MPs. The Anti-Deflection Bill states that if a lawmaker defected or was expelled from the political party they were registered to at the time of election, they would automatically lose their seat in the parliament.

The parliamentary committee that reviewed the bill added that it would be put into effect retrospectively from July 13, 2017, which is when the Supreme Court first issued its contentious ruling on floor-crossing and expelled several MPs from the parliament.

The bill was appealed at the apex court on March 15; just two days after the parliament passed it, by opposition Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) parliamentary group leader and President-Elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Jumhoory Party (JP) member and Kendhoo MP Ali Hussain and the only lawmaker from Adhaalath Party, Makunudhoo MP Anara Naeem.

The top court had ruled against the opposition, stating that the Anti-Defection Bill cannot be nullified and that it is constitutionally valid.

With the ratification of the bill, Elections Commission (EC) had upheld the court's verdict and stripped 12 lawmakers of their seats in parliament.

However, the Supreme Court, in early October this year, reinstated three out of 12 lawmakers to the parliament.

President-Elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has pledged to null any motions, including the Defamation Act, that are contradictory to the rights of the people.